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1 




Down came Ephiaiiu's rifle to the charge again. 



Page 153. 



THE BLUE BALLOON 



A TALE OF 



THE SHENANDOAH VALLEY 



BY 

REGINALD HORSLEY 

AUTHOR OF 'the YELLOW GOD;' ETC. 



WITH SIX ILLUSTRATIONS 

BY 

AV. S. STA.CEY 



W. & R. CHAMBERS, Limited 

LONDON AND EDINBURGH 

1896 



Edinburgh : 
Printed by W. & R. Chambers, Limited. 




^&^ 



CHAPTER PAGE 

I. OLD GRIZZLY 7 

II. STONEWALL JACKSON's WAY 19 

III. THE BALLOON GOES UP 32 

IV. THE BALLOON COMES DOWN 49 

V. A FIRE-EATING COLONEL 64 

VL A FREE BREAKFAST 74 

VII. NO. XX. COMPANY D OF THE 'TRAILING TERRORS' 9.3 

VIII. A PAIR OF RELUCTANT RECRUITS 118 

IX. HOW GENERAL SHIELDS SENT A DESPATCH TO 

GENERAL FREMONT 131 

X. HOW THAT DESPATCH WAS INTERCEPTED 148 

XL LUCIUS BRINGS THE BOAT ASHORE 1,58 

XIL A DUEL IN THE DARK 175 

XIIL HOW THE DESPATCH WAS BROUGHT TO STONEWALL 

JACKSON 199 

XIV. GRIZZLY IN THE TOILS 223 

XV. ANY PORT IN A STORM 2.39 

XVI. OLD grizzly's S.\CRIFICE 257 

XVIL WHAT CAME OF IT ALL 277 



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS. 



Page 
Down came Epliiaim's ritie to the charge again Frontisjiicce 

' Hyav I am,' said Ephiaim 13 

Ephraim, his feet twined among the cordage, slowly mounted 

towards the network 61 

' Upon my word, you are a nice young man,' said the general. ...1 11 

A candle was burning on a table by the window 211 

'Fire, boys ! Fire !' 275 




r^rg^" 










THE BLUE BALLOO^^. 



CHAPTER I. 




OLD GRIZZLY. 

HIRTY-THREE years ago, or, to be quite 
exact, in the month of May 1862, the great 
civil war in the United States of America 
was in full swing. The Federals had dis- 
covered that their boast that they would finish 
the whole affair in ninety days had been an empty 
one ; while the Confederates, brave as they were, and 
fighting with all the vigour of men goaded to fury by 
the horrors of invasion, were learning by slow degrees, 
and in the teeth of their successes, that one Southerner 
could not whip five Yankees. 

The short renmant of summer which followed the 
first battle of Bull Run, or Manassas, as it was named 
in the South, had come to an end without startling- 
incident ; the dreary winter had dragged itself to a 
close, unmarked by aught but skirmishes and conflicts 
of minor importance ; but in the spring of '62 immense 
armies took the field, and campaigns were begun. 



8 OLD GRIZZLY. 

compared with which all that had gone before was 
merely an insignificant prelude. 

At the first rumour that McClellan, stirring at la^st 
from his long and inglorious inactivity, was about to 
advance upon Richmond, the Confederate General 
Johnston at once evacuated Manassas, and fell back 
towards the threatened point ; while Stonewall Jackson, 
who commanded the army of the Shenandoah, moved 
up the valley, so as to keep communication open with 
the defenders of the capital. 

In the valley lay the town of Staunton, the capital 
of Augusta county, Virginia, and the presumed 
objective of one section of the Federal advance. Here, 
when the war began, lived a youth named Ephraim 
Sykes, more commonly known as ' Old Grizzly.' Not 
that he at all resembled that ferocious animal either 
in person or in disposition, for his manners were mild 
and inoffensive ; but since his Christian name happened 
to coincide with the sobriquet usually bestowed upon 
the grizzly bear — namely, ' Ephraim ' — a happy thought 
occurred one day to a youthful wag of Staunton. 
So Ephraim Sykes was promptly dubbed ' Old Grizzly,' 
and as such was known ever afterwards. 

Ephraim was between nineteen and twenty years of 
age, but looked much older, for he was tall and lank, 
with a thoughtful face and a sallow complexion, while 
an early and luxuriant crop of dark and curling hair 
flourished upon his thin cheeks and square, resolute 
chin. It was this chin, along with a pair of clear, 
steady, gray eyes, which conveyed to the physiogno- 
mist the impression that, shy and retiring as the lad 
was, beneath his unassuming exterior lurked the spirit 
of a lion, united to a will of iron. 



■eU 



OLD GRIZZLY. 9 

Epliraim was a 'hand' in one of the large iron- 
works in Staunton, but he owned a soul above his 
humble calling, and his mechanical genius was little 
short of marvellous. He was for ever inventing curious 
toys and handy appliances, w^hich he traded off among 
the Staunton boys for sums very far below their actual 
value. The money thus obtained he devoted partly 
to the support of an aged aunt, who had brought 
him up since the death of his father and mother, 
and partly to the purchase of material for the manu- 
facture of his inventions, or, as he himself stjded 
them, his * notions.' Education, in the ordinary sense 
of the word, he had never had, but he had managed, 
nevertheless, by his own efforts and quiet persistence, 
to acquire an extraordinary amount of general and 
useful information : a neatly made bookcase, which 
stood against the wall of his little room, held a supply 
of books on science, mathematics, and the mechanical 
arts, which seemed curiously out of place in the 
homely cabin. But that Ephraim knew their use, 
and profited by the information he derived from 
the study of them, was evidenced by the character 
of the work he turned out, and the increasing favour 
in which he was held by Mr Coulter, the master of 
the works in which he was employed. 

By the boys who formed his chief customers Grizzly 
was popularly supposed to be very rich, and the one 
fault they had to find with him was that he hoarded 
his gains in a miserly fashion, spending not a cent 
more than was absolutely necessary to provide him- 
self and his aunt with the simple necessaries of life. 
Here, however, they misjudged Ephraim, for though it 
was true that he scraped and pinched and denied him- 



10 OLD GRIZZLY. 

self to put aside some small proportion of his not very 
extensive means, yet there was a purpose in what he 
did, and his motives were very different from those 
which the boys in their thoughtless way ascribed to 
him. 

The fact was that poor Ephraim's soul was fired 
with one strong and overmastering ambition. He 
longed to rise in the world. He dimly recognised his 
own powers, and felt within himself a capacity for 
progress which he could not but see was denied to the 
bulk of his fellow-workers. His shrewdness early 
taught him the value of money as a means to this end, 
and while others spent and squandered, he added 
dollar after dollar to his little hoard, and watched with 
keen satisfaction the slowly accumulating pile. 

He was known to almost everybody in Staunton — 
there being few homes which did not possess some 
proof of his skill in handicraft — and he was a general 
favourite on account of his unfailing good-nature. 
For though careful, or mean as some called it, with 
his money, he was always willing to give the work of 
his hands, and many were the small boys whose happi- 
ness had been rendered unbounded by the acquisition 
of some precious plaything, for which they could not 
afford to pay, but which Ephraim had not the heart 
to deny them. 

Still, though many sought his acquaintance, Grizzly 
allowed himself the luxury of but one friend, the only 
boy, perhaps, in all Staunton who thoroughly under- 
stood and properly appreciated him, Lucius Markham. 
And him Ephraim simply worshipped. The contrast 
between the two was almost absurd, for Lucius was 
what is called a gentleman, and with his fair hair. 



OLD GRIZZLY, H 

blue eyes, and aristocratic bearing, stood out in curious 
relief beside the rough working-lad whom he had 
selected for his crony. Yet the two were insepar- 
able, and Lucius, who was three years younger than 
Ephraim, and high-spirited and self-willed, would 
listen to no remonstrances on the part of his parents, 
who looked askance upon this ill-assorted companion- 
ship, but spent as much of his spare time as he possibly 
could by Ephraim's side, often in the latter 's little 
workshop, where he watched admiringly the processes 
which neither could his head understand nor his 
hands execute. 

As for Ephraim, Lucius was his hero, and he adored 
him with a dog-like affection, which the other, though 
he certainly returned it, yet received with a lofty air 
of patronage, as became the son and heir of so im- 
portant a personage as Mr Markham of Markham Hall. 

When the war broke out, the enthusiasm of the two 
lads knew no bounds. The Staunton artillery, in 
which Mr Markham held a commission, had been 
almost the first to take the field, and had played an 
important part in the capture of Harper's Ferry and 
the arsenal. Lucius had therefore a personal interest 
in the war from the very beginning, and great indeed 
was his delight when he was allowed to pay a visit to 
his father at the camp at Harper's Ferry, where the 
impetuous young Southerners were receiving their first 
lessons in the art of real war from generals and 
captains who were afterwards destined to write their 
names large upon the scroll of Fame. 

On his return to Staunton, Lucius flew to the house 
of his friend, burning to impart his new experiences. 

' Hello, Aunty Chris !' he shouted, bursting into the 



12 OLD GRIZZLY. 

little cabin where the old woman sat darning Ephraim's 
socks. ' Where 's Grizzly ?' 

'Hyar I am,' said Ephraim, coming out of his den 
with a jack-plane in one hand and a piece of walnut 
wood in the other. ' How ye comin' along, Luce ?' 
he added, his eyes beaming affectionately upon his 
friend. 

' Oh !' cried Lucius, not troubling to return the 
salute, ' I tell you I 've had such a time at the Ferry. 
They are all there — father, and General Harper, and 
General Harman, and Captain Imboden, and all the 
rest of them ; and Major Jackson of the Military 
Institute way down in Lexington has been made a 
colonel and put in command over the whole lot of 
them. They didn't like it at first, but they've got 
used to it now, and my ! don't he just make them 
work. They were having a picnic before he came, 
but I guess he didn't help to whip the Mexicans for 
nothing.' 

'Do tell,' remarked Ephraim. 

' I should say so,' went on Lucius. ' He 's a stark 
fighter, he is, and he keeps them down to it. They 're 
drilling and marchinof, and marching and drillincj, all 
day long ; and at night they have camp-fires, and 
sentries, and everything. You never saw such a show. 
And oh ! Grizzly, what do you think ? Captain 
Imboden let me fire off a cannon.' 

'Ye don't say so!' exclaimed Ephraim, his sallow 
face lighting up. ' How many Yanks did ye shoot ?' 

Lucius burst out laughing. * Why, it wasn't loaded, 
stupid,' he said, ' except with blank cartridge. But 
I touched her off, and she made an awful good 
row.' 




' Hyar I am,' said Ephiaim, 



OLD GRIZZLY. 15 

'I reckon,' said Ephraim simply, adding with some 
anxiety in his voice : ' Then ye warn't in no battle, 
Luce ?' 

'Battle ! No,' answered Lucius. ' There hasn't been 
one so far, and I imagine they wouldn't have had me 
around while it was going on. There 's sure to be one 
soon, though ; so they all say. Don't I wish we could 
be there to see it. There '11 only be one, you know,' 
he added confidently. * We shall whip the Yanks, and 
then everybody will come home again.' 

' Thet 's so,' remarked Ephraim sententiously, ' 'cept- 
in' them as is killed, of co'se.' He fell to considering 
the piece of wood which he held in his hand. 

' What are you making there V demanded Lucius. 

' A gun-stock. I got a bar'l in thar.' 

'I'll come and watch you,' said Lucius, 'and then I 
can tell you all about the camp.' 

He followed Ephraim into his workshop and sat 
down upon the edge of a small tub, in which were set 
two huge glass jars, partly filled with fluid, 

'Don't ye set down thar,' cried Ephraim, pushing 
him oflf. ' Jerushy ! A little more and ye 'd have 
been through the roof.' 

'Why, what's in them?' inquired Lucius, looking 
rather scared, as he shifted his seat to the dusty bench 
at which Ephraim worked. 

'They're chemicals — different sorts, ye know,' ex- 
plained Grizzly. ' Just 's long as they 're by them- 
selves they 're all right, ye onderstand ; but wanst 
they come together there 's the all-firedest kick-up 
ye ever see.' 

' What a fellow you are ! ' said Lucius, glancing round 
the room with its mixture of tools, cog-wheels, small 



16 OLD GRIZZLY. 

engine bars, glass retorts, and what not. ' You '11 blow 
your own head off some of these fines days.' 

'I nearly done it last Toosday,' grinned Ephraim 
genially ; ' and old Aunty Chris war thet skeert, she 
run down the street hollerin' thieves and murder.' He 
laughed quietly at the recollection. 

' That 's all very well,' said Lucius ; ' but you 
shouldn't leave them so close to one another if they 
are so dangerous as you say they are.' 

'Thet's so/ acquiesced Ephraim, removing one of 
the jars to a corner of the room ' It don't matter a 
cob of corn what goes wrong with me, but I 'low I 'd 
never forgive myself if harm came to you.' 

' How's the pile, Grizzly ?' asked Lucius irrelevantly. 

' It 's growing, sonny ; it 's growing. It ain't the 
wuth of a gold mine yet ; but it 's coming along. 
War ye wanting a trifle, maybe ?' 

'Who, me?' answered Lucius loftily. 'I should 
say not. I 've got plenty.' He rattled the money in 
his pocket as he spoke. ' But I say, Grizzly, when do 
you think it will be big enough to let you go to 
college ?' 

Ephraim's eyes glistened. 'Maybe two years,' 
he replied ; ' that is, ef trade keeps steady. It 
seems a long time, don't it ? But it 's a little while 
when ye reckon I've worked and waited five years 
for 't already.' 

Lucius looked at him admiringlj^ ' You '11 do big 
things yet, if only you get the chance, Grizzly,' he 
said. ' And if you weren't so mighty proud, you could 
have had the chance longf ago. Father would give me 
the money for you, if you 'd let me ask him. I know 
be would.' 



OLD GRIZZLY. 17 

' No, Luce,' returned Ephraim, laying a hairy paw 
affectionately on his friend's shoulder. ' I know ye 'd 
do it and willin', jest ez I 'd give you the best I had ; 
but I med up my mind long ago thet ef I couldn't 
work it out myself I wouldn't be wuth no one's work- 
in' it out for me, and thet 's the fact. It '11 come in 
time, I know thet. And besides I 'm used to waitin'.* 
He siffhed, thoucrh, as he said it. 

' It does seem a shame,' burst out Lucius, ' that a 
great empty-headed noodle like me should have more 
money than he knows what to do with, while a clever, 
enterprising fellow like you, with a brain full of 
notions, should be kept back because you haven't got 
any. I ' 

' Oh, shet yer head. Luce,' interrupted Ephraim good- 
humouredly. ' Ef I war all ye make me out ter be, 
I 'd hev been thar long ago, dollars or no dollars. 
Maybe it 's best as it is,' he concluded ; ' for ef I war 
ready ter go now, I reckon this old war would come 
in the way of it.' 

' Pooh ! the war,' ejaculated Lucius contemptuously. 
* I tell you there 's going to be no war. Father says 
there'll be a battle likely — just one, and that will 
settle the Yankees and their bounce for good and all.' 

' Maybe,' nodded Ephraim. ' We 're going ter see.' 

' Well, if there is a war,' proclaimed Lucius, ' I am 
going to join in. So there.' 

'You!' exclaimed Ephraim in unaffected astonish- 
ment. 'Why, Luce, they wouldn't have ye. Ye 're 
too young.' 

' What of that ?' retorted Lucius, flushing. ' I am 

sixteen. I can carry a gun. What more do they 

want ? ' 

B 



18 OLD GRIZZLY. 

' A heap, I reckon,' said Ephraim, eyeing him along 
the gun-stock he was planing. ' But no matter for 
that, Luce. Yer par would never let ye go.' 

' Maybe then I 'd go without asking him,' muttered 
Lucius rebelliously. 

Ephraim laid down the gun-stock and approached 
him. ' See hyar. Luce,' he said anxiously, ' ye ain't 
got no idees in yer head, hev ye ?' 

Lucius burst out laughing. ' Well, you have a way 
of putting things,' he cried. 'I believe I have just 
one, and that is, I am going to be a soldier.' 

Ephraim considered a moment. ' Waal,' he said at 
last, ' ef thet 's so, I believe I '11 hev to volunteer ter 
look after ye.' 

Lucius roared afresh at this. ' A pretty soldier you 
would make, Grizzl}^,' he shouted. ' I fancy I see you 
ambling along with a gun over your shoulder. Why, 
I believe you 'd be scared to death the moment you let 
it off.' 

' Maybe I would,' admitted Ephraim candidly. ' I 
'low I han't been used to shootin'. But anyway. 
Luce, whar ye kin lead, I reckon I '11 do my best ter 
foUer.' 








CHAPTER II. 




STONEWALL JACKSON S WAY. 

HE months rolled on, the battle of Manassas 
W^ had been fought and won, and the Federals, 
driven back upon Washington in hopeless 
rout, with the immediate result that thousands 
of volunteers left the Confederate service and returned 
to their homes and their ordinary vocations, thinking 
that an enemy so easily whipped could be as easily 
finished off without their further help. Many officers, 
too, who had hastened to the front at the first call 
of the trumpet, leaving their plantations or their 
businesses to look after themselves, gladly took advan- 
tage of the temporary lull to snatch a short furlough. 
Among these latter was Major Markham, who since 
the first sudden rush upon Harper's Ferry in April 
had never once left the field. Now, how^ever, a wound 
received at Bull Run incapacitating him from further 
service for the present, he rejoined his wife and son at 
Markham Hall. 

The picturesque descriptions which his father gave 
him of the leading features of the battle, along with 
many incidents of personal adventure and heroism, so 
fired Lucius's already ardent spirit, that from that 



20 STONEWALL JACKSON's WAY. 

time onwards he lived in imagination the life of a 
soldier. He begged, he prayed, he implored, he even 
went on his knees to his father to allow him to join 
the army as a drummer-boy, as a bugler, as a mule- 
driver, as anything at all, in any capacity whatsoever. 
Major Markham laughed at his son at first, but wdien 
he realised how absolutely in earnest Lucius was, he 
bade him, with what show of sternness he could 
muster — for he could not but admire the boy's high 
spirit — never to mention the subject again. 

Thwarted at home, Lucius sought consolation from 
his friend Ephraim, and so worked upon his slower 
nature with tales of deeds of daring, drawn almost 
entirely from his own perfervid imagination, that even 
Grizzly was stirred to enthusiasm, and flourished his 
long arms over his head as he declared his intention 
of annihilating whole regiments of Yankees at one fell 
blow, by means of some devastating compound, the 
first idea of which w^as germinating in his fertile brain. 

At the same time, Ephraim's common sense stood 
both him and Lucius in good stead, and held the 
younger boy back more effectually than the commands 
of his father or the pleadings of his mother. But 
when Major Markham rejoined his regiment in Decem- 
ber, to take part in the terrible expedition to Romney, 
Lucius could bear the restraint no longer, and one cold, 
snowy night he astonished Ephraim by suddenly 
appearing and boldly proposing that they should run 
away together. 

' Whar ye gwine ter run ter?' inquired common- 
sense Ephraim, looking up from the calculations on 
which he was engaged. 

' How do I know V flashed Lucius the fervid. 



STONEWALL JACKSON's WAY. 21 

'We'll just go on until we come to one of our armies. 
They '11 be mighty glad to let us join.' 

' A stark tighter sech ez ye would be !' said Ephraim 
with beaming admiration, and without the least trace 
of irony. 

'Yes/ assented Lucius complacently; 'they'll not 
refuse two such strong and active lads as you and ' 

'Sho!' interrupted Ephraim. 'Don't ye count on 
me. I warn ye.' 

'What!' exclaimed Lucius, in a voice of mingled 
surprise and grief. ' Do you mean to say that, after 
all I have told you, you will let me go alone ? ' 

' I ain't gwine ter let ye go at all, Luce,' returned 
Ephraim, placing a long, hairy arm affectionately round 
the boy's neck. ' See hyar, now,' he went on, as Lucius 
shook himself angrily free, ' thar ain't nuthin' ter call 
fightin' goin' on jest now. Nothin' but marchin' round 
and round, and up and down in the snow and the 
slush. Now, thar ain't no fun in thet, I reckon.' 

' Well, no,' admitted Lucius reluctantly. He thought 
for a moment or two, and then burst out : ' Look here. 
Grizzly, the real fighting is sure to begin again in 
spring. If I promise to wait, will you promise to 
come with me then ?' 

'I 'low we'll wait till spring comes along,' answered 
Ephraim oracularly. ' Ef ye 're ez sot upon it then ez 
ye air now, I '11 see what I kin do.' 

'That's a bargain, then,' said Lucius. 'I just long 
to see a real good battle. Mind, if you go back on me 
now, I'll call you a coward and start without you.' 

' I ain't any coward,' answered Ephraim quietly, 
though his pale face flushed slightly ; ' leastways ez 
fur ez goin' along with ye is consarned. Ye don't 



22 STONEWALL JACKSON's WAY. 

imao'ine I'd go fer ter lose sight ol: ye, Luce?' he 
finished, with a catch in his voice. 

'Oh no,' said Lucius, mollified. 'Only I thought 
that maybe you couldn't understand my feelings. 
You 're a dear old thing, Grizzly ; but you 're a rough 
bit of stick, you know, and you haven't so much at 
stake as people like us.' And the young aristocrat 
drew himself proudly up. 

' Thet 's a fact,' nodded Ephraim ; ' though I ain't 
heard ez the fust families hez been doin' all the 
fightin'.' There was a subdued grin on his face as he 
spoke. 

' Of course not,' said Lucius hastily. ' Our fellow^s 
are stark fighters all round; but it's men like my 
father and Jackson and the rest who lead the way. 
You know that well enough.' 

Ephraim stretched out his brown hairy paw and 
drew Lucius towards him. ' I only know I 'd die fer 
ye glad and willin' ef ye war ahead, Luce,' he said 
tenderly. 

' Shucks !' exclaimed Lucius impatiently ; ' who said 
anything about dying ? Now it 's all settled, and 
you'll come.' 

' I '11 be on time,' said Ephraim. He was silent for 
a moment, during which he thought deeply. Finally 
he said, ' Ye air jest sot ter see a battle, ain't ye, 
Luce ?' 

' Yes,' answered Lucius. ' Didn't I tell you so ? ' 

' Waal,' resumed Ephraim, ' wouldn't ye be content 
jest ter see wan, without arskin' ter take a hand in 
the fightin' ? ' 

'Whatever do you mean by that?' queried Lucius. 
' I don't understand you.' 



STONEWALL JACKSON'S WAY. 23 

' Waal, it don't matter,' said Ephraim, 'fer I reckon 
I han't got no very cl'ar idee of what I mean myself 
ez yet. Anyway thar 's heaps of time. We 're on'y 
beginnin' December now, and thar '11 be nuthin' this 
long while. Ef ye 're still sot in spring, why, we '11 
see.' 

'See what ?' demanded Lucius impatiently. 'Can't 
you explain ?' 

But Ephraim either could not or would not, and 
presently Lucius took his departure in high dudgeon. 

Ephraim sat thinking to himself for a long while, 
and finally he took down a volume from his shelves 
and buried himself in it, until the voice of the old 
woman in the next room disturbed him by querulously 
demanding 'Ef he warn't never goin' to bed.' 

' I b'lieve I could do it,' he thought to himself as he 

undressed ; ' but ' He pulled a trunk from under his 

bed, and unlocking it, drew out a small cash-box. This 
in turn he opened and studied the little pile of dollars 
it contained with an anxious face. 

' Thet 's the only way ter do it,' he muttered, passing 
the coins backwards and forwards through his fingers. 
'Thar's not much more than enough thar, if thar is 
enough. Imagine ! Only that little lot in five long 
years. Seems a pity, jest fer a whim. But it 's fer 
Luce. It 's ter pleasure Luce. He 's that sot on it, 
and he nat'ally looks ter me. No matter, I guess I '11 
work it up again.' 

He stood looking into the box with eyes that did 
not see, for he was far away in spirit in the little 
Massachusetts town, where stood the famous college 
he so ardently desired to enter. 

Splash ! A great tear fell into the box of dollars. 



24 STONEWALL JACKSON'S WAY, 

' What ye doin ?' Ephraim apostrophised himself 
with great vehemence. ' Ain't it f er Luce ? Ain't he 
wuth it ? Ef ye can't do a little thing like that fer 
yer friend, it 's time ye ' 

He broke off suddenly, snapped the lid of the box, 
and threw it back into the trunk. 

' Ef ye can't do a little thing like that without 
makin' a fuss about it,' he repeated, ' it 's time ye — 
it 's time ye ' 

He choked over the words, a rain of tears gushed 
from his eyes, and with a low cry he flung himself 
sobbing upon his bed. 

The year came to an end, and plague and worry 
him as he would, Lucius could extract nothing from 
Ephraim to throw light on the mysterious remark. 
Indeed Grizzly was now seldom or never to be found 
in his workshop ; nor could Aunty Chris explain his 
absence, or disclose his whereabouts, for, as she frankly 
confessed, she knew nothing whatever about him. 
Lucius, of course, whenever he could waylay him, 
questioned and cross-questioned him as to what he 
was engaged upon in his spare time and where ; but 
Grizzly invariably replied with a wag of his head: 
'Ye '11 git thar in time, Luce. On'y ye '11 hev ter hang 
on till the time comes.' With which Delphic utterance 
Lucius was obliged to be content. 

Meantime the war was not standing still. Manassas 
had, after all, not crumpled up the North, and early in 
'62 the people of the valley were rudely awakened to 
the fact by the appearance among them of no less than 
three Federal generals, with an aggregate force of 
sixty-four thousand men. And to these Stonewall 
Jackson could oppose but thirteen thousand ! But 



STONEWALL JACKSON's WAY. 25 

though the excitement was great, there was little 
anxiety ; for the reputation which Jackson and his 
brigade had won at Manassas, and their stern and 
soldierly endurance of the terrible hardships of the 
severe winter just ended, inspired a confidence in their 
prowess, which w^ould scarcely have been shaken had 
all the armies of the North been combined against 
them. 

What were men's feelings then, when the astounding- 
news spread like wildfire from town to town : ' Jackson 
has deserted us in our extremity. He has fled through 
the gaps to the east side of the Blue Ridge !' 

The report was not unfounded. It certainly was 
true that Jackson had disappeared from the valley. 
Only Colonel Ashby, the famous cavalry leader, re- 
mained behind with a thousand sabres at his back. 

Men laughed bitterly. What was this little force to 
do for their protection against an army so gigantic ? 
But Ashby with scattered troops was here, there, and 
everywhere. Now at McDowell, now at Strasburg, 
now at Franklin, yesterday at Front Royal, to-morrow 
at Luray. But what he learned in his reconnaissances, 
and where he sent the information which he acquired, 
no man knew, no man had the heart to ask. In 
Staunton itself the wildest confusion reigned; for no 
sooner had the news of Jackson's flight been conveyed 
to the Federal generals, than they set their masses in 
motion, and began to advance along converging lines 
upon the little town. That it was to be occupied was 
regarded as certain, and in the universal terror much 
that was valuable in the way of military stores was 
removed or destroyed ; while General Johnson with 
six regiments retired from his strong position on the 



26 STONEWALL JACKSON's WAY. 

Shenandoah Mountain, intent only on saving his small 
force by effecting a junction with the vanished Jackson 
wherever he might find him. 

Then came the day when Staunton, abandoned and 
defenceless, lay sullenly awaiting its fate, with Miiroy 
and twelve thousand Federals not two-and-twenty 
miles away, and Fremont coming on with thirty 
thousand more. 

It was a Sunday, and the churches were full of 
devout worshippers, praying doubtless that the chas- 
tenino- rod held over them mii^ht be averted in its 
descent. Suddenly a strange and terrible sound arose 
— a noise of trampling thousands, the clink of steel 
against steel as scabbard and stirrup jangled together, 
the clatter of squadrons upon the road, the hoarse 
rumble and grumble of artillery wagons. People 
looked at one another in dismay. Despite their 
supplications the blow had fallen : they were in the 
hands of the enemy. 

Slowly, with mournful hearts and dejected mien, 
they filed out of church, their downcast eyes refusing 
to look at the bitter sight. Then, as one head after 
another was lifted, exclamations of deep surprise broke 
forth here and there. 

Where were the stars and stripes ? Where was the 
blue of the detested Federals ? The marching columns 
were gray ! The stars and bars waved proudly in the 
breeze, and here and there in the midst of a regiinent 
the lone star shone upon flag and pennon. 

What a shout of joy went up from the multitude : 
' Confederates ! Confederates ! They are our own boys 
back again! Old Stonewall is here! Thank God! 
Hurrah ! Hurrah !' 



STONEWALL JACKSON's WAY. 27 

The excitement was tremendous. Nerves were 
strung to highest tension ; emotions touched the 
breaking point. Men leaped and danced for very joy. 
Women flung themselves into each other's arms and 
wept for sheer happiness. And through it all the 
gray hosts rolled steadily on. 

Then, as suddenly as it had arisen, the hubbub 
subsided. Apprehension reigned once more, and the 
eager questions passed from lip to lip : ' What are 
they doing here ? Have they been routed ? Are they 
only in retreat ?' 

No, the soldiers answered, they were not running 
away. They had not seen or heard of the enemy 
for days. What were they doing here, then ? Again 
they did not know. Nobody knew except old Stone- 
wall. He knew of course. It was one of his tricks. 
He had got something under his hat. 

Then the crowd surged to the railway station to 
watch the debarking troops as train after train rolled 
in. Here the same ignorance prevailed. Nobody 
knew ; nobody could understand. To their personal 
friends the officers were dumb, for they were in dark- 
ness like the men. Only the General knew ; and 
those who knew the General knew also how hopeless 
it would be to question him. 

The dwellers in the country, who had come into 
town for church, hastened away, full of their news, 
to tell the folk who had been left at home. They 
did not get-far. All around the town a strong cordon 
of soldiers had been drawn who forced them back. 
What ! they asked, might they not even return to their 
own homes ? No, they might not — at least, not yet. 
Why ? Nobody knew. Simply the General had 



28 STONEWALL JACKSON's WAY. 

ordered it so. Probably he did not wish the news 
of his arrival to be spread abroad. But to everything, 
the one monotonous, exasperating answer, ' We do not 
know.' 

Then at last the people understood. Silent as ever 
as to his plans, mysterious in his movements, Jackson's 
fliglit had been but a clever feint. He had stolen 
back swiftly and without attracting attention ; and 
now, while the Federals fondl}^ supposed him east of 
the Blue Ridge, here he was, ready and able to deal 
them one of his slashing liank blows. It was ' Stone- 
wall Jackson's way.' 

As soon as the soldiers began to arrive, Lucius and 
Ephraim, who both sang in the choir of their church, 
hurried out and raced to the station. Lono- before 
they got there Lucius had shouted himself hoarse, 
while, though he took things more quietly, Ephraim's 
cheeks were burning, and his eyes blazing with 
unwonted fire. 

' Say, Grizzly, isn't it splendid V panted Lucius. 

Ephraim did not answer, for just then a roar of 
delight rent the air. ' Here he comes ! Here 's the 
General ! Hurrah ! Stonewall Jackson ! Stonewall ! 
Cheer, boys ! Hurrah ! God bless you. General ! 
Hurrah ! Hurrah !' 

Clad in his old gray coat, soiled and smirched 
with the stains of the dreadful march to Romney in 
December, and with his queer slouched hat cocked 
askew over his forehead, ' Old Stonewall,' then but 
thirty-eight years of age, rode in the midst of his 
staff. His shrewd, kindly face wore a smile of almost 
womanly sweetness, and his keen blue eyes, which, it 
is said, glowed when the battle rage was upon him 



STONEWALL JACKSON'S WAY. 29 

with a terrible light that appalled both friend and 
foe, now beamed mildly on the shouting crowd who 
sought to do him honour. He bowed continually 
right and left, and was evidently pleased at his 
welcome, as well as touched by the supreme con- 
fidence of the people in him. 

So frantic was Lucius in his demonstrations that at 
last he attracted the notice of the General, who after 
regarding him good-naturedly for a moment, broke 
into an amused laugh, saying, as he nodded pleasantly : 
' Thank you, my lad, for your welcome. It does one's 
heart good to see such a face as yours.' For a moment 
Lucius could not believe his ears. Then, as he realised 
that the General had indeed spoken to him, his face 
crimsoned with delight, and forgetting everything in 
his exaltation, he rushed into the road and clung to 
Jackson's stirrup leather, as though to detain him by 
main force. 

'Take me with you. General!' he cried at the top 
of his voice. ' Take me with you. I want to fight, 
and they won't let me.' 

'Hurrah !' shouted the crowd, moved by this novel 
sensation, while Ephraim, glowing with pride, craned 
his long neck to see his hero, as he fully expected, 
caught up in front of the General and borne away 
to the wars. 

'By time!' he muttered, 'ain't he jest cl'ar grit? 
Ain't he noble ? And he 's my friend.' Great tears 
rose in his honest eyes and blurred his sight as the 
General reined in his charger and bent over to 
Lucius. 

'Take you with me, my boy?' said Jackson kindly, 
laying his hand upon the fair, curly head as he spoke. 



30 STONEWALL JACKSON's WAY. 

' Take you with me ? God forbid ! We don't want 
children amid such scenes as we are forced to go 
through.' 

' Why not ?' gasped Lucius. ' I 'm sixteen; I 'd make 
one more anyway. I don't mind being shot any more 
than the next man.' 

' Gloryful gracious !' murmured Ephraim, his eyes 
fairly brimming over; while Jackson, bending lower 
still, said somewhat huskily : ' God bless you, lad, for 
your true heart.' Then straightening himself in his 
saddle, he cried in ringing tones to his officers : ' When 
our men grow from the stuff this boy is made of, 
gentlemen, it is no wonder that the victory is ours.' 

The crowd cheered again lustily at this, and Jack- 
son, turning once more to Lucius, said : ' Tell me your 
name, my boy. I should like to remember it.' 

'Lucius Markham, sir,' replied the boy. 'That is 
my father coming up now.' 

'What, the son of Major Markham!' said Jackson. 
'Ha! a chip of the old block. — Major!' he hailed, as 
a fine-looking bronzed officer rode by with his battery. 
' So this is your son ? ' 

'I am afraid so, sir,' returned Major Markham, 
smiling and nodding at Lucius. ' What has the young 
scapegrace been doing ? He is always wanting to 
follow the drum.' 

'Nay,' protested Jackson, 'I won't allow you to call 
him names. He is a fine fellow, and wants to come 
and be a soldier under me.' 

'May I, father?' asked Lucius eagerly. 'Do sa}'' 
yes. — I know most of the drill, sir,' he added to the 
General, ' and I can shoot pretty straight.' 

There was a laugh among the officers at this, but 



STONEWALL JACKSON's WAY. 31 

Jackson checked it with a look, and, turning to 
Lucius, said impressively : ' Listen to me, Lucius. 
You are too young to come with me, but still you 
can be a soldier, and a bold one, if you choose.' 

'In what regiment, sir?' asked Lucius, looking up 
at him eagerly. 

' In the faithful regiment,' answered Stonewall 
gravely, ' under the banner of the Cross, and with 
Christ for Commander. The war is the holy M^ar, 
and the battles are fought for God and against self 
and the wrong every day. And remember, Lucius,' 
he concluded, ' the first duty of a soldier is obedience.' 

He rode on, followed by the cheers of the crowd, 
while Major Markham slipped back to his place. 

Lucius stared dreamily after them, heedless of the 
curious and interested looks cast at him, till all at once 
a hand gripped his arm, and Ephraim's voice whispered 
in his ear : ' Come away out of the crowd, Luce. I 'se 
suthin' mighty particler to say ter ye.' 




CHAPTER III 




THE BALLOON GOES UP. 

fTILL absorbed in his own thoughts, Lucius 
followed his friend in silence through the 
crowded streets until they reached a remote 
field or piece of waste land at the very out- 
skirts of the town, and here Ephraim halted and spoke 
once more. 

The pomp and circumstance of glorious war had 
laid hold of poor Grizzly, for his cheeks were still red 
and his eyes sparkling, while there was something 
intense in his voice as he said : ' Air ye sot, Luce ? Air 
ye still sot like ye war ?' 

' Set on what ?' asked Lucius, still dreaming. 

' On seeing the fight.' 

' Oh yes,' answered Lucius ; but his expression 
plainly showed that he had scarcely heard, and 
certainly not comprehended Grizzly's remarks. 

' Waal, come over hyar, then,' said Ephraim, ' and 
I '11 show ye what I 've been fixed outer fer the last 
five months.' 

He moved mysteriously towards an old shed of con- 
siderable size that stood in a corner of the field, and 
with many anxious glances all around unlocked the 



THE BALLOON GOES UP. 33 

door. Though it chimed in with his mood, his caution 
was unnecessary, for not a civilian was in sight. Only 
in the near distance they could see part of the cordon 
of sentries pacing up and down with bayonets fixed, 
and ever and anon a patrol rode swiftly by. Occa- 
sionally a bugle blared in the town, and the hum of 
many voices came faintly to them. Except for these 
all was quiet, and they were quite alone. 

' Come along, Luce,' said Ephraim, pulling him 
through the door, which he carefully shut and locked 
behind him. ' Ye won't know whar ye air, but I '11 
tell ye. This is my new workshop. I got it a bargain 
from Pete Taylor last December after us two had 
thet talk. I pinned him down not to let on that I had 
the place, fer I didn't want ter be followed and 
worried by the boys. And I been fixin' things hyar 
ever sence ye 'lowed ye war so sot.' 

He ilung the shutters wide as he spoke, and the 
light streamed through two windows upon a great 
heap of blue cotton material, apparently enveloped in a 
network of fine ropes. Here and there lay other 
ropes neatly coiled, and close beside the blue heap was 
what looked like a large round hamper without a cover. 

' Waal,' demanded Ephraim anxiously, after a some- 
what protracted pause, during which Lucius glanced 
vacantly around the workshop, ' what d' ye think 
of her ? I 'lowed I 'd try and fix her up fer ye, seein' 
ye war so sot.' 

' For me ?' echoed Lucius. ' What is for me ? I don't 
see anything.' 

'Don't see nuthin', don't ye?' chuckled Ephraim. 'I 
reckon ye see without onderstandin'. What d' ye 
'magine this is ?' 

c 



34 THE BALLOON GOES UP. 

He took up an armful of the blue fabric as lie spoke 
and let it fall again in a heap. 

' I 'm sure I don't know,' answered Lucius. 

' Co'se ye don't ; co'se ye don't,' said Ephraim, rub- 
bing his hands together, and grinning delightedl5^ 
' Ye never see nuthin' like her befoi^e, I bet.' 

' I have not,' returned Lucius, now thoroughly awake, 
and examining everything with great curiosity. ' What 

a queer-looking Oh ! why, Grizzly, if I don't 

believe it's a balloon !' 

Ephraim sprang off the ground and twirled round in 
the air for joy. 'Thet's it,' he cried. 'Thet's it! 
By time ! ef ye ain't cute. Thet 's jest what it is.' 

' But — but — I don't understand,' said Lucius, finger- 
ing the network. ' Where did you get it V 

Ephraim gave himself another spin. 'I done read 
her up out of a book, and made her myself,' he said, 

'Grizzly!' cried Lucius in profound admiration. 
' You — made — it — yourself. Well, if you don't just 
beat every one. You 're a genius, that 's what you are. 
What put it into your head to make it ? You clever 
old stick !' 

' You did,' answered Ephraim, glowing wnth pride 
and pleasure. 

'/ did ! Why ? How ? What is it for, then ?' 

Ephraim took a step forward and looked into his 
eyes. ' Fer you and me to sail around in and ivatch 
the war', he said. 

Profound silence followed this extraordinary an- 
nouncement, and then Lucius sat down on a heap of 
shavings and rather feebly remarked, ' Oh !' There 
really seemed nothing more to be said. 

'Yas, sir,' went on Ephraim, still beaming with 



THR BALLOON GOES UP. 35 

satisfaction ; ' when ye said ye wuz so sot tcr see some 
fightin', I began ter study and figger out what 'd be 
the best way for ye ter do it 'thout ye gettin' in the 
track of the bullets.' 

' Oh,' commented Lucius, ' you were afraid of being 
killed, were you ?' 

' No, and I warn't neither,' returned Ephraim simply; 
' but I wuz powerful frightened lest ye might be. 
Bullets is sech darned unpolites — they never stops ter 
inquire if ye b'long ter a fust fam'ly or if ye don'fe.' 

'But you know,' explained Lucius, 'when I said 
that I wanted to see a battle, I meant that I wanted to 
take part in one.' 

' I know ye did,' assented Ephraim. ' At the same 
time, ez fur ez I kin I'arn, that's about the most 
or'nery way of seein' a battle ez has ever been invented. 
I tell ye, a bullet is the meanes' thing alive.' 

Lucius laughed. ' But we can't fight if we are up in 
the air. Grizzly,' he observed. 

' Can't we ? I reckon we kin, though,' replied 
Ephraim. ' But ez fur ez that goes, who wants ter 
fight ? I don't, fer wun ; and I don't mean to let you, 
fer another. Ain't there enufF of 'em hammerin' away 
just now without you and me joinin' in ?' 

' That 's not very patriotic,' said Lucius with em- 
phasis. 

'Ain't it?' answered Ephraim drily. 'I reckon it's 
sense all the same. Anyway, this is how I've fixed it 
up. If ye don't like my way, I promise ye, ye won't 
get a chance to go off on yer own, ef I have ter tie ye 
in a chair and keep ye at my own expense until the 
war is through.' 

Lucius laughed again. 'You dear old Grizzlj^,' he 



36 THE BALLOON GOES UP. 

said, 'you are always thinking of me. I 'd just love to 
go with you. It will be splendid fun. But, tell me, 
how ever did you manage to make such a wonderful 
thing all by yourself ? ' 

' Waal, I don't say it war ez easy ez hoein' a row,' 
replied Ephraim, ' but it warn't so dreadful hard 
nuther. I got it all outern a book, as I was telling 
ye, and made her to measurement, and thar she is, ye 
see. Besides,' he added with an affectionate grin, 
' seein' ez how it wuz fer ye I made her. Luce, I didn't 
take no count of trouble. Ef thar wuz any, I reckon 
it never come my way.' 

' Upon my word, you are a good old Grizzly,' cried 
Lucius enthusiastically, and fetching Ephraim a sound- 
ing slap between the shoulders, which seemed to delight 
the assaulted one immensely, ' To think of your taking 
all that trouble just to please me. And the thing 
itself — why, it 's magnificent ! If you aren't clever ! 
Say, Grizzly, are you sure it will hold us ? ' 

' I reckon,' answered Ephraim. ' Git inter the kyar 
and see.' 

' Yes, I see there 's plenty of room in there,' said 
Lucius, but what I meant to say was, will it bear us, 
hold us up, or whatever you call it ? ' 

' Waal, I should say so,' cried Ephraim joyously. 
' Ye onderstand, Luce, thet 's jest whar tlie hard part 

came in. I had ter cal'clate the strain and But 

d' ye know anythin' 'bout airy nortics ? ' 

'Airy who?' repeated Lucius, puzzled. 'Oh, I see, 
aeronautics.' 

' Waal, I said so. D' ye know 'em ? ' 

Lucius shook his head. 

' Then I han't no time ter teach ye now. Ye kin 



THE BALLOON GOES UP. 37 

read 'em up tvvixt now and the time we go up, ef ye 
like.' 

' I shouldn't understand it/ said Lucius. ' I guess 
I'll leave it to you. It means the way to handle a 
balloon, I suppose?' 

' Thet 's about it,' answered Ephraim sententiously. 
'I 'magine it's easy 'nufl! I read her up, and if ye 
care to come, why, I ain't afraid tor be airy-nort.' 

' I '11 go with you fast enough,' said Lucius. ' It will 
be grand. When do you mean to start ? ' 

' Waal, perhaps we 'd better wait till we get a notion 
whar old Stonewall 's goin' ter. Then we kin foller 
him up ; fer, don't ye know, thar 's bound ter be some 
mighty stark fightin' when old Stonewall is around.' 

' Oh !' cried Lucius, flushing scarlet, as a sudden 
recollection struck him. 'I forgot. I won't — I mean 
I can't go with you.' 

'What! what's thet ye say?' exclaimed Ephraim, 
too astonished for further speech. 

' A soldier's first duty is obedience,' went on Lucius, 
speaking to himself. ' It 's no use. Grizzly ; I '11 just 
have to stay behind.' 

' What ails ye ter say such ez thet ? ' asked Ephraim, 
much aggrieved. * Right now ye seemed willin' 'nuff, 
and ye looked right peart and chipper. Ye seemed ter 
ache ter come. Co'se ye mought have been funnin' 
bout 'n thet ; but ef thet 's so, why, I give in I never 
war so fooled before.' 

* No,' said Lucius, shaking his head sadly ; ' you 
were not wrong. I did want to go. I do still, very 
much indeed.' 

' Then why in thunder don't ye ?' queried the mysti- 
fied Ephraim. 



38 THE BALLOON GOES UP. 

'Well,' answered Lucius, growing very red again, 
and stirring a coil of ropes with his foot, ' you know 
what father said when I told him I wanted to join ; 
and then lie said — the General, I mean — " a soldier's 
first duty is obedience." And, oh ! Grizzly,' he cried, 
flinging himself face downwards upon the blue heap, 
' I 'd just love to go now ; for since he spoke to me, I 'd 
follow him through fire and water all the world over. 
But I mustn't — I mustn't.' 

Ephraim stood twining his long brown fingers 
together, the picture of distress at sight of Luce's grief. 
A blue vein which ran perpendicularly in the centre of 
his forehead, swelled out, a ruffcred bar, au'ainst which 
the waves of red which chased one another over his 
face broke and receded. His eyes were troubled, and 
swept rapidly up and down and round and round as if 
seeking inspiration, while so firmly were his lips com- 
pressed that the line of parting could barely be dis- 
tinguished. 

' Don't ye take on so, Luce. I can't abear it,' he 
muttered huskily, at last. Then, as if with the 
breaking of his silence the idea of which he had been 
in pursuit had been captured, he emitted a sudden 
cackle of satisfaction, and flinging himself down beside 
Lucius, drew the boy to him and hugged him like a 
grizzly indeed. 

' Cheer up. Luce ! ' he cried. ' I done got the way. 
By time ! what an or'nery fool I must hev been not ter 
remember thet.' 

' Remember what ? ' asked Lucius, willing but unable 
to see a ray of comfort. 

' What I been doin' ter let thet notion past me ? ' 
inquired Ephraim cheerfully of himself. ' I declar' I 



THE BALLOON GOES UP. 39 

had her all along ; on'y when ye up 'n said ye wouldn't 
come, I 'low I let her slip fer a minnit.' 

' I wish you 'd explain,' said Lucius fretfully. 

' Comin', Luce, comin'. Don't ye go fer ter knock 
thet idee out er my head agen with yer talk. Why, I 
war workin' along the very same lines myself when 
we began ter talk, if ye recollect. Now, see liyar. 
This is the way I put it up. Your par, he says ye 're 
not ter go fi2;htin' — and I swow it 's the last thing / 
want ter do — Old Stonewall he 'lows ye orter do ez yer 
par says, and ye 'low ye orter agree with both of 'em. 
Ain't thet so ? ' 

' That 's so,' admitted Lucius forlornly, 

' Ezacly ! Waal now, Luce, I '11 give ye the whole 
idee in a par'ble. Ye know thet black bull way down 
ter Holmes's place ?' Lucius nodded. ' Waal then, we '11 
suppose yer par sez ter ye : " Luce," sez he, " that bull er 
Holmes's is powerful servigerous. I '11 not hev ye 
goin inter the field ter take him by the tail ! " ' 

' Well ? ' laughed Lucius, as Ephraim paused to 
wrestle with his idea. 

' Waal, ye 'low ye 11 do ez yer par sez ; but all the 
same ye hev an outrageous hankerin' ter see thet bull 
er Holmes's. Now, what d' ye reckon ye'd do ?' 

' Why, sit on the fence and look at him,' answered 
Lucius. 

'Ezacly!' cried Ephraim joyously. 'Thct's what I 
'lowed ye 'd do. And think no harm of it ? ' he finished 
anxiously. 

' No,' said Lucius ; ' I wasn't told not to look at the 
bull. I don't see how there could be any harm in 
doing that.' 

' Then thet 's all right. This hyar fight, thet stands 



40 THE BALLOON GOES UP. 

fer Holmes's bull, ye onderstand ; and the old balloon, 
she stands fer the ring fence. How does thet strike 

ye?' 

' You mean,' said Lucius thoughtfully,' that since 
we only intend to watch what is going on, I shall be 
doing no harm if I go with you.' 

' Thet 's it, I reckon. Why, don't ye know, I 've been 
studyin' all the time how I could git ye thar, and give 
ye suthin' like what ye wanted, without ye runnin' no 
resks.' It did not appear to strike Ephraim that there 
could be any risk connected v/ith the balloon itself. 
' Waal,' he added after a pause, during which Lucius 
gave himself up to reflection, ' what d' ye 'low ye '11 
do?' 

' I '11 come,' said Lucius, rising to his feet. ' There 
can't be anything wrong in this, for it 's onl}^ a piece 
of fun.' There was a note of doubt in his voice ; 
but he was anxious to allow himself to be con- 
vinced. 

' Then thet 's fixed,' said Ephraim, with a sigh of 
relief. ' 'Tain't likely ez I 'd ask ye ter do anythin' 
wrong, Luce. — Now we '11 git outern this, and I '11 let 
ye know when all 's ready fer a start.' 

' But how are you going to manage it ?' asked Lucius. 
' What about the gas ?' 

' I '11 show ye,' answered Ephraim. ' See them two 
bar'ls ?' 

' No,' said Lucius ; ' I don't see any barrels.' 

' Thar, opposite the door, buried in the ground.' 

' Oh yes ; filled with straw. What are they for ?' 

' They ain't filled with straw, ye onderstand,' ex- 
plained Ephraim. ' I '11 show ye.' 

He gathered up the straw from the top of one of the 



THE BALLOON GOES UP. 41 

barrels, and disclosed underneath a quantity of iron 
filino's and borino^s. 

' Why, that 's iron,' exclaimed Lucius ; ' what has 
that to do with gas ?' 

' Hold on,' replied Ephraim genially. ' I '11 make it 
cl'ar ter ye in a jiffy. Ye see,' he pursued, ' this kind 
er thing goes on all the way down — a layer er straw 
and a layer er iron-filin's plumb down ter the bottom 
er the bar'l.' 

' I see,' said Lucius, looking very wise, though, as a 
matter of fact, he was as much in the dark as ever. 

' Now,' went on Ephraim, pointing to some carboys 
rangjed agjainst the wall, ' them thina^s is full er sul- 
phuric acid — vitriol, that is ter say ; and ez soon ez ever 
I take and heave the acid on top er the iron-filin's, the 
gas — hydrergin it 's called — begins ter come off.' 

'Does it?' said Lucius, much interested. 'Let's 
see.' 

Ephraim grinned. ' I reckon I han't been gatherin' 
the stuff all these months jest ter fire it off before the 
time,' he remarked ; ' but I '11 show ye the same thing 
in a little way, so ter speak.' 

He took a glass flask from a shelf and placed a few 
iron-filings in it. He then poured some sulphuric acid 
into a cup, added some water thereto, and finally intro- 
duced it into the flask, completely covering the lumps 
of iron. 

' Now,' said he, ' ye '11 see what ye 11 see.' He closed 
the mouth of the flask with a cork through which was 
set a glass tube, and to the free end of this latter he 
presently applied a lighted match. Instantly the gas 
which was issuing from the tube ignited, and burned 
with a pure, pale flame. 



42 THE BALLOON GOES UP. 

'Hooray!' shouted Lucius. 'That's wonderful. I 
never saw anything like it.' 

' Waal, it 's been done before, ye know,' said Ephraira 
drily. ' I didn't invent it.' 

' You 're a marvel, all the same,' cried Lucius enthu- 
siastically. ' My ! what a splash you '11 make when 
you get to college, Grizzly,' 

Ephraim turned quickly away, and stooping down, 
replaced the straw which he had taken from the 
barrel. When he looked up again, his face was very 
pale. 

' Ye see, Luce,' he went on, concluding his explan- 
ation, but speaking with much less fire and anima- 
tion, ' what went on in the fiask is what '11 go on in 
the bar'ls, and ez the hydrergin comes off it '11 be led 
through these pipes, which I can fix outer the bar'ls, 
inter a tank er water, ye maybe noticed standin' out- 
side. Thar's a receiver in the tank, or thar will be 
wanst we 're ready, and another pipe '11 be led from 
thar to the balloon, and thar ye air.' 

' What do you lead the gas under water for ?' in- 
quired Lucius. 

' Ter cool it fer wan thing, and ter wash it fer 
another.' 

' Well, it 's wonderful ! That 's all I can say,' re- 
peated Lucius. ' And to think that you should have 
done everything all by yourself. But, Grizzly, surely 
you can't fill the balloon and let her up without help.' 

' I know thet ; but don't ye fret,' returned Ephraim. 
' I bet she '11 be ready when we air. There 's two or 
three in the works ez I kin trust to tell about her 
'thout them lettin' it go all over the town. All ye hev 
ter do is ter go home and set still till I arsk ye ter git 



THE BALLOON GOES UP. 43 

up. — Come on ; let 's be otf out er this.' For some 
reason or other he was growing restless under Luce's 
perpetual fire of questions. 

' How pretty the blue stuff looks, varnished,' said 
Lucius, adding suddenly : ' It must have cost an awful 
lot, Grizzly. Where did you get all the money to buy 
it with ?' 

' Oh, hyar and thar,' answered Ephraim uncomfort- 
ably. ' I sold things. She ain't made er silk, ye know 
— only er cotton stuff. — Come on, Luce, it 's gittin' late, 
and Aunty Chris will be hollerin' fer her tea.' 

But Lucius stood still, looking down upon the con- 
fused heap of material and cordage, and pondering 
deeply. All at once he swung round and faced Ephraim. 
' Grizzly,' he said jerkily, ' I believe you have broken 
into the pile.' 

Ephraim's face was a study If he had been caught 
robbing his master's till, he could not have looked more 
sheepish and ashamed. He shifted uneasily from one 
foot to the other, and twisted his long fingers in and 
out till all the joints cracked like a volley of small- 
arms. ' Waal, waal ' he stuttered. 

'You've broken into the pile,' interrupted Lucius. 
• For five years you 've been grubbing and saving all 
for one purpose, working overtime, and making odds 
and ends here and there for the boys, all for one pur- 
pose — that you might go to college. And now you 've 
gone and upset everything. I '11 bet you haven't a 
dollar left of all your savings. Now, have you ?' 

' No,' mumbled Ephraim shamefacedly. ' But ' 

' I know what you 're going to say,' broke in 
Lucius — ' you did it for me. You are always doing 
things for me. But you 'd no right to do this. You 'd 



44 THE BALLOON GOES UP. 

no right to spoil your whole life just for me. What 
can I do ? I can't pay you back. And father ' 

' Ez ter thet,' interjected Ephraim, ' it war uiy own. 
I ain't ask in' any wan ter put it back.' 

' It wasn't your own/ burst out Lucius. 'At least it 
wasn't your own to do as you liked with. It was to 
help you on in the world. It was to give your brains 
a chance. Oh ! weren't there heaps of ways in which 
we could have had our fun without this ? If I 'd 
known it, if I 'd dreamed of it, I 'd have gone off and 
'listed without a word to any one.' 

' I know ye would, Luce,' said Ephraim quietly. 
'Ye were mighty nigh d^n' it thet snowy night when 
ye came ter me. Thet sot me thinkin', I sez ter 
m'self, sez I, I reckon it 's mostly froth on Luce's part. 
Ef I ken git him pinned down ter come with me, I 
guess I kin keep him out er harm's way. Lordy ! Luce, 
what would I hev done ef I 'd gone and lost ye ? Waal, 
ez I sot tliar thinkin' ter m'self, all at once thar comes 
an idee. I dunno whar it came from, but thet 's it ' — 
he pointed to the balloon — ' and wanst I gripped it I 
never let it go again, fer it jest seemed the best way 
in all the world fer ter let ye see all ye wanted ter see, 
and ter keep ye safe et the same time.' He held up 
his hand as Lucius was about to speak. 

'Don't say it again. Luce. It's done now, and 
can't be undone. Maybe some folk'd think it war a 
mad thing ter do ; but it didn't seem so ter me, seein' 
it war done fer you.' 

Sometimes the step from the ridiculous to the 
sublime is as easy as that in the opposite direction. It 
was so now, when the rough, hard-handed mechanic, 
whose brains, nevertheless, had been able to devise and 



THE BALLOON GOES UP. 45 

execute this wonderful thing, stood before the high- 
spirited, empty-headed boy, whom he loved, and for 
whose well-being, as he imagined, he had thrown away 
his substance and his worldly hopes. 

For a few moments there was silence between the 
boys, Ephraim standing with his hand upon the bolt of 
the door, Lucius driving first the toe and then the heel 
of his boot into the ground. At last he shuffled over to 
Ephraim, glanced shyly up into the big gray eyes that 
beamed so aftectionately down on him, and with some- 
thing that sounded suspiciously like a sob, clasped 
Grizzly's free hand in both his own. 

Ephraim flung wide the door. ' Garn away !' he said 
with a genial grin, and tenderly shoved Lucius out of 
the cabin. 

On the following Wednesday Jackson marched his 
army out of Staunton, broke up the camp at West 
View, and started to attack General Milroy, Avhom he 
met and defeated with heavy loss at McDowell. Move- 
ment then followed movement so rapidly that the 
people of Staunton were bewildered. However, as all 
the news they received told of the success, they were 
also content. Meanwhile the month wore to an end 
without another word from Ephraim to Lucius on the 
subject of the balloon. But at last, one bright after- 
noon in early June, the long expected and desired 
summons came. 

Lucius was sittinaj idly on his own o-ate, whittlino- a 
stick, when a working-man approached him, and after 
a cautious look up the avenue to see if any one else 
was in sight, observed interrogatively, ' Young Squire 
Markliam ?' 

Lucius nodded, and the man went on : ' Ef that's so, 



46 THE BALLOON GOES UP. 

I 've a message fer ye from the Grizzly. He sez ye 're 
ter jine him et the shed any time ye think fit after 
midnight, and before daj^' 

'Is he — going up?' asked Lucius, with rounded 
eyes. 

' I 'low he is, ef the wind holds from the south-west,' 
replied the man. ' Will I say ye '11 he on hand ?' 

'Rather!' answered Lucius. 'Here's a dollar for 
your trouble. I 'm much obliged. — Hi ! you won't say 
anything about it ?' 

' I 'm dumb, squire/ grinned the man as he moved 
away, while Lucius, ablaze with excitement, stole into 
the house and shut himself up in his room to think. 

He knew perfectly well that he was about to do 
wrong ; but he tried to deceive himself into the belief 
that Ephraim's casuistry afforded him a sufficient 
excuse for going ofi' without the leave which would 
certainly never have been granted him. Moreover, 
he argued that, after the sacrifice which Ephraim had 
made just to give him pleasure, he could not now hang 
back. In a word, as many a wise person has done 
before and since, he set up objections like so many 
men of straw, and deliberately proceeded to knock 
them down again. 

At last he succeeded in crowding his conscience into 
a corner, and about eleven o'clock, when every one 
else in the house was fast asleep, rose from the bed 
where he had tossed and turned since nine, and slip- 
ping on his clothes, softly opened the window and got 
out. 

The night was very dark ; a light breeze blew 
from the south ; and the waving branches of shrubs 
and trees smote Lucius gently on the face as he stole 



THE BALLOON GOES UP. 47 

through the plantations to the turnpike. His heart 
thumped violently against his ribs, for it seemed to 
him as if unseen hands were laying hold of him and 
striving to draw him back to his duty. But all these 
sombre thoughts took flight when he reached the 
rendezvous, where Ephraim, with the aid of half a 
dozen of his fellow-workmen, was engaged in inflating 
the balloon. 

Three or four great torches illuminated the scene, 
which was to Lucius at least sufficiently awe-inspiring, 
for what he had last seen a tangled heap upon the 
floor of the cabin, now rose a vast bulk, which, passing 
into the mirk above the flare of the torches, seemed 
to rear itself into the very vault of heaven. Lucius 
trembled as he watched it. 

' Hello ! Luce,' said Ephraim, coming forward. 
'Ye 're hyar on time.' 

Lucius attempted to reply, but the words stuck in 
his throat, and he only gripped Ephraim nervously by 
the arm. 

'Purty, ain't she?' asked Ephraim with pardonable 
pride, as he surveyed his handiwork, which, now nearly 
full, and securely anchored to the ground by strong 
ropes, swayed to and fro in the night wind. 

' She ain't big, ye know,' went on Ephraim — big ! 
she seemed to Lucius like a vast mountain — ' she ain't 
big, ye know, but she '11 carry the like er us two shore 
and easy. Say, Luce,' as he felt the latter shaken by a 
violent shiver, 'ye ain't afraid, air ye ?' 

' Not I,' answered Lucius, as well as he could for his 
chattering teeth. ' I 'm cold — 1 'm excited ; but I 'm 
not in the least frightened. Shall we get into the 
car ?' 



48 THE BALLOON GOES UP. 

'Not yet,' answered Ephraim, 'She ain't full yet. 
I '11 tell ye when.' 

But two intolerably long hours passed before 
Ephraim hailed him with : ' Now then, Luce, I reckon 
she 's ready, ef ye air.' 

At the sound of his voice Lucius started. To say 
that the boy was merely frightened would be incorrect. 
He was sick and faint with a deadly, paralysing- fear. 
The terrors of the unknown had got hold upon him 
M'ith a vengeance. However, he managed to stumble 
forward without knowing exactly how he did it, and 
assisted by one of the men, scrambled into the car, 
where Ephraim was already standing. The next 
moment the balloon, released from all its bonds save 
one, shot up to the extent of the remaining rope. 

' We '11 be off in a jiffy,' said Ephraim cheerfully. 
' Good-bye, boys. Take keer on yersels till we see ye 
again. It don't matter who ye tell now. We '11 bi'ing 
ye the latest news from the seat er war. Cast her 
loose.' 

'Wait!' gasped Lucius, rousing himself by a mighty 
effort. ' I meant to write a message before I left home ; 
but I forgot. One of you go up to the Hall in the 
morning and tell my mother I 'm all right, and that 
I '11 be back in a day or two.' 

He leaned over the side of the car as he spoke, and 
one of the men answered him. Then, even as he 
looked, the torches suddenly lessened to brightly 
twinkling points of light, then to mere sparks, and 
finally went out altogether. 




^ OJ 



CHAPTER IV. 




THE BALLOON COMES DOWN. 

ELLO !' exclaimed Lucius. 'What have 
they put out the torches for, I wonder.' 

'So they hev,' said Ephraim, peering 
over. ' Sh ! keep mum ! Maybe thar 's 
some wan tryin' ter head us off. I wish they 'd let 
her go.' Then, as no sound broke the stillness of the 
night, nor could any noise of footsteps be heard, he 
called softly, 'Let her go !' 

Instantly came back a response in his own words, 
as a bo'sun repeats the orders of the mate, 'Let her 
go !' 

But the balloon remained stationary, and at last, 
after waiting for a moment or two, Ephraim cast 
prudence to the winds and shouted at the top of his 
voice : ' Let her go, ye durned fools. Why don't ye let 
her go ?' 

'Ye durned fools, wdiy don't ye let her go?' was 
hurled back at him with savage emphasis. 

'By time!' began Ephraim — when Lucius inter- 
rupted with, 'That was echo, Grizzly.' 

'Echo in this yer field!' retorted Ephraim. 'Thar 
ain't any echo. If thar war, why didn't she up 'n 

D 



50 THE BALLOON COMES DOWN. 

answer when I gave the boys good-bye and ye 
hollered out yer message ?' 

' Well, it sounded like it,' persisted Lucius. ' Try 
again and make sure.' 

'Let her go, can't ye?' howled Ephraim, unable, in 
his anxiety to be quit of mother earth, to think of 
any other test. But this time there was no reply. 

' What'd I tell ye ?' cried Ephraim excitedly. 'Thar 
warn't no echo. The or'nery skunks hev been playin' 
it back on us, and now they 've skedaddled and left 
us anchored hyar.' 

' Perhaps some one came along and scared them,' 
suggested Lucius. 

'I'll scare 'em wanst I git down agen,' grumbled 
Ephraim. ' However, it don't amount ter a cob er 
corn. I '11 soon cut her loose, though sutt'nly I didn't 
want ter lose that extry bit er rope.' 

' It 's grown very cold all of a sudden,' remarked 
Lucius, as Ephraim hunted round for the lantern he 
had brought. 'And wet, too. Oh!' as the Grizzly 
drew the slide and flashed the light here and there. 
' It 's raining hard, and never a sound on the balloon. 
How very odd.' 

'Hyar's the rope,' exclaimed Ephraim at this junc- 
ture. ' Ketch hold on the light. Luce, while I cut 
her through.' 

He handed the lantern to Lucius, and having 
opened a formidable clasp-knife, put his hand through 
the cords which rose from the car, and laid hold of 
the detaining rope. 

Instantly an exclamation of deep surprise escaped 
him. The rope was slack. 

' What 's wrong now ?' inquired Lucius, still occu- 



THE BALLOON COMES DOWN. 51 

pied in wondering why the rain had made no sound. 
' It has stopped raining. I can see the stars again.' 

For answer Ephraim broke into peal after peal of 
laughter. ' Co'se ye kin ! Co'se ye kin !' he shouted. 
' Why, don't ye know ye must be nigh on a mile 
nearer ter 'em than when ye started. Ho ! ho ! ho !' 

'What do you mean?' asked Lucius. 'We can't 
have gone up so high just since you cut the rope.' 

'Cut the rope!' cried Ephraim. 'I never did cut 
the rope. See hyar,' He hauled in the slack and 
Hung it on the floor of the car. ' While us two fust- 
class samples er prize ijots hez been growlin' and 
howlin', ole Blue Bag hyar hez been cuttin' through 
space like a wheel-saw goin' through a block er pine.' 

'My!' exclaimed Lucius. 'Then the torches were 
not put out by the men?' 

' Not them,' chuckled Ephraim. ' The old balloon 
jest lit out fer the sky and left 'em.' 

' I didn't feel any movement then, and I don't now,' 
said Lucius incredulously. 'Are you sure we are oflf"?' 

' You kin smile,' returned Ephraim. ' You 've looked 
yer last on the old world fer a bit. Why, that echo 
might hev told me, fer I read about jest such a thing 
in my book ; but I war that flabbergasted et what 
ye said about the torches that I clean forgot it.' 

'Was the echo in the air then ?' asked Lucius. 

'It p'intedly war. Thar and nowhar else. Then 
we got out er that belt and whoosh I through thet 
cloud and rain-storm, and hyar we air bright and 
early, all ready to give howdy to the little twinklin' 
stars. Hurroo !' 

'But are you sure?' persisted Lucius. 'I can't 
believe it.' 



52 THE BALLOON COMES DOWN. 

' Waal, it 's so, sonny. Ye kin see fer yerself.' 
Ephraim tore up some paper and flung the pieces over 
the side of the car, and as he flashed the light upon 
them, Lucius observed that they appeared to be 
fluttering down. ' Thet shows we 're goin' up, ye 
onderstand,' said Grizzly. 

' No, I do not understand,' answered Lucius ; ' and 
since you know so much about it, you'd better 
explain.' 

Ephraim needed no second bidding, but at once 
began a learned discourse on ballast, valves, and every- 
thing pertaining to the manufacture and management 
of balloons, when Lucius suddenly shrieked out : ' My 
ears are beating like drums, and I think my head is 
going to burst.' 

'Ye don't say so!' responded Ephraim in unaffected 
alarm. ' Hello ! so 's mine. We must be goin' up 
too high. Hold on ! I '11 fetch her down.' 

He pulled the cord which opened the valve as he 
spoke, and presently they were conscious of pleasanter 
surroundings. 

* That 's better,' said Lucius. ' Do you know, I 
think it was rather rash to com^e up in the dark.' 

' Maybe it war,' admitted Ephraim ; ' but ef we 'd 
tried ter start in the daytime, we 'd never hev come 
up at all.' 

' We should have been stopped, sure enough,' assented 
Lucius, who with the absence of motion on the part 
of the balloon had lost most of the fear which had 
possessed him at the start. 'All the same, I think 
we might as well have waited for the dawn.' 

' I don't suppose thar 's much risk er a collision up 
hyar,' said Ephraim quaintly. ' I 'magine we 've got 



THE BALLOON COMES DOWN. 53 

the sky pretty much ter ourselves. But ye won't hev 
long ter wait fer dawn on a June night ; and mean- 
time, ef we watch the valve we '11 hev no trouble.' 

'That brings us down ?' said Lucius. 

' Ezacly. It 's all jest ez easy ez fallin' off 'n a log, 
this yer balloonin'. When we want ter git up, ye 
chuck out a bag of ballast, and when ye want ter 
come down, ye pull the valve cord and let out a smart 
lump of gas. That 's about the lot of it.' 

' When we get back to Staunton,' advised Lucius, 
' you ought to turn professional.' 

'Professional what?' inquired Ephraim, who was 
busy setting things to rights in the car by the light 
of the lantern. 

' Why, professional — what d' ye call him ? The man 
who goes up in balloons.' 

' Airy-nort ! ' shouted Ephraim joyously. ' By time ! 
Luce, thet 's a perfectly grand idee. So I will. I '11 
turn airy-nort and take folks up and down fer five 
dollars the trip. Luce, I 'm obleeged ter ye fer thet 
idee. I p'intedly am.' 

'If it helps you to get back your pile, I shall be 
very glad,' said Lucius rather sadly. ' I 'm sure I '11 
be very willing to act as conductor, and rush around 
and get passengers for you.' 

' Shucks ! ' observed Ephraim. ' Who 's thinkin' of 
the pile ?' 

' I am,' said Lucius, ' and shall never cease to think 
of it until I have made it up to you in some way. I 
really do believe that aeronaut notion is a good one.' 

'It is thet,' affirmed Ephraim with conviction, 'and 
I '11 fix it up too ; you see ef I don't.' 

' I suppose you know that you are still holding the 



54 THE BALLOON COMES DOWN. 

valve cord,' said Lucius. 'How are we to get up 
again if you let out all the gas ?' 

' By time ! I forgot,' exclaimed Ephraim, releasing 
the cord. ' I 'low thar 's more in this yer airy-nortin' 
than I thort thar war. We 're about steady now,' he 
went on, throwing out some more paper in the stream 
of lamplight; 'but of co'se I dunno whar we air; fer 
I han't no notion how fast or how slow old Blue Bag 
kin travel.' 

' Well, there 's not much wind,' said Lucius, ' so I 
don't suppose we have gone very far. It would be 
rather a joke if we found ourselves standing still over 
Staunton, wouldn't it ?' 

*It would thet!' grinned Ephraim, 'or, better still, 
ef we went hoverin' over the Yanks jest ez they war 
gittin' their breakfasts.' 

' By the way, where do you expect to get to ?' 
inquired Lucius. ' I suppose you thought it all out 
before we started ?' 

' Waal, I kinder did, ez fur ez might be,' replied 
Ephraim, 'though sutt'nly it war like enutf ter 
wanderin' blindfold through a wood ; but I knew jest 
ez well ez everybody else thet old Stonewall war 
gobblin' up the Yanks somewhar in the valley, and I 
'lowed we wouldn't git much beyond Winchester 
'thout lightin' on his trail.' 

' Winchester ! All that long way off!' 

' Oh, come. It ain't so very fur ez all thet comes to, 
and besides, ye air carried free, gratis, and fur nuthin'. 
'Tisn't ez ef ye war asked ter walk,' 

'That's all very well; but supposing the wind 
changes, or has changed, and blows us to goodness 
knows where. What are you going to do then ? 



THE BALLOON COMES DOWN. 55 

Will there be enough gas left to bring us back 
again ?' 

' Oh ! I reckon yes,' answered Ephraim rather un- 
comfortably, for this was a point which he had left 
unconsidered. ' But it don't matter much after all. 
It wouldn't be such a trial ez all thet ter do it on 
foot!' 

' I shouldn't mind,' assented Lucius. ' I suppose we 
could find our way, and as to food — why. Grizzly, did 
you bring any with you ? I never remembered it.' 

' Thet 's all right,' said Ephraim, relieved at the turn 
given to the conversation ; * ye '11 find plenty in this 
bag — bread and meat and milk — and ef ye 're hungry, 
why, ye 'd better pitch in.' 

* I don't mind if I do,' laughed Lucius, ' though, to 
be sure, it is rather early for breakfast. Oh, Grizzly,' 
he went on, munching the viands, ' I was in a horrible 
frio-ht when we first started, I was in two minds 
about stepping out of the car, when old Blue Bag, as 
you seem to have named the balloon, shot up to the 
length of the rope, and then of course I was done 
for.' 

* Ye war,' chuckled Ephraim, following suit with the 
provisions ; ' but now ye see it 's jest the nicest kind 
er travellin' ever invented. I 'low I warn't quite sure 
myself how it would be when fust we started, but I 
wouldn't ask nuthin' better than this. Wait till 
mornin' comes and we '11 show our flag.' 

' Flag !' echoed Lucius. ' Have you brought a 

flag r ° 

'Rayther!' said Ephraim ; 'a pi'oper one, too — stars 
and bars and all. I didn't want our boys ter fire on 
us ye know, sposin' we came too close to the ground.' 



56 THE BALLOON COMES DOWN. 

' But the Yanks will fire on us if they see the flag,' 
argued Lucius. 

' By time ! I never thort er thet,' confessed Ephraini 
with humility. His reasoning was not infrequently 
like that of Sir Isaac Newton with regard to his cat 
and her kitten. ' Waal, never mind, we'll do without 
the flag. And ez ter shootin',' he muttered under his 
breath, ' ef it comes ter thet, I reckon we kin stand 
a siege.' 

Lucius did not hear this remark, and in response to 
his request for its repetition, Grizzly merely asserted 
that it didn't matter. 

Providence was kind to the two lads in their 
ignorance, and for a couple of hours they floated 
peacefully along, sublimely unconscious of the dangers 
to which they were exposed, and chatting, with boyish 
disregard of the awfulness of the theme, over their 
chances of witnessino- the most horrible siMit in 
nature — men struggling together in bloody strife, like 
savage beasts of prey. 

Then suddenly a red light flared up in the east, 
and Ephraim exclaimed cheerfully : ' Thar comes the 
mornin'. We '11 soon larn our wdiarabouts now.' 

But, even as he said the words, the fires of day were 
extinguished, a wet veil enveloped the balloon, which 
heeled over as a blast of bitter cold wind rushed 
shrieking through the cordage. A long, jagged stream 
of blinding light rent the cloud-bank into which they 
had entered, while, almost simultaneously, a stunning 
thunder roll reverberated all around them. 

' Oh !' shrieked Lucius, burying his face in his 
hands. ' How awful ! Let us go down. Quick ! 
quick ! The balloon will burst.' 



THE BALLOON COMES DOWN. 57 

* We can't !' gasped Ephraim, also temporarily out of 
his senses with fright. ' I 've lost my grip of the valve 
cord.' 

It was true. Not expecting such a contretemps, he 
had neglected to secure the valve cord, which at the 
first lurch of the balloon had swung through the 
cordage, and now dangled out of reach and invisible 
in the darkness. 

Meanwhile the thunder roared and crackled, and the 
li^htnins: blazed about them, and the balloon, driven 
this way and that by contrary currents of wind, 
swung from side to side, staggering back to the per- 
pendicular ; while the frail car, falling with each lurch 
and recovery to the utmost limit of the binding ropes, 
shook and whirled and bumped its miserable occupants 
till they were actually sick with terror and physical 
discomfort. 

' Oh ! oh !' moaned Lucius. * I shall die ! Oh ! why 
did I ever come ? I shall be killed ! Oh ! if it were 
only not so very dark !' 

Suddenly there was a shout from Ephraim. Lucius 
knew in a dim unconscious way that he had risen to 
his feet and was leaning over the car during a tem- 
porary lull in the mad gyrations of the balloon, and in 
a few moments more old Blue Bag, bursting grandly 
through the storm, soared peacefully amid tranquil 
skies into the broad light of day. 

\ 'By time!' ejaculated Ephraim, wiping the sweat 
from his face, which was deadly pale. ' Thet war on'y 
/est in time. Thet war none too soon. What an or'nery 

kunk I must hev been ter fergit it.' 
' What did you do ?' chattered Lucius, still in deadly 

terror. 



58 THE BALLOON COMES DOWN. 

'Why, hove out a big lump er ballast, er co'se/ 
returned Ephraiiu, who was fast getting his quivering 
nerves under control again. ' And I do hope it '11 fall 
plump on one er them pesky Yanks and knock the 
nat'al stuffin' out er him. — Don't ye take on so, Luce. 
I '"low it war awful while et lasted — awful ; but we 're 
all right now. Old Blue Bag don't set me back again, 
I tell ye.' 

Lucius cast one despairing look upwards. 

* Right !' he groaned. ' Can't you see that we 're 
going up and up, and we '11 never come down again 
until the balloon has been shivered into atoms. You 've 
lost the cord.' 

Ephraim followed the glance. Matters were cer- 
tainly about as bad as they could be. The valve cord, 
tangled in the rigging of the balloon, lay twisted 
far up on the side of the latter, absolutely out of 
reach. 

'Umph!' grunted Ephraim. 'Waal, it's a mercy 
thar 's more ways than one. I '11 make a hole in her 
side.' 

He pulled out his clasp-knife, and with a sigh for 
the dire necessity of it, prepared to stab the child 
of his invention. But, as he stood at the edge of 
the car, his fingers, numbed with cold and wet, 
lost grip of the knife in their efforts to open the 
strong blade, and with a silence more eloquent than 
the loudest crash, it slipped down into the cloud 
depths below. 

A cry of horror broke from Lucius as what seemed 
to him their only means of salvation disappeared, bit 
Ephraim shouted loudly : ' Lend us yourn, quick ! I 's 
gettin' ez cold ez a iceberg. Smart, sonny !' 



THE BALLOON COMES DOWN. 59 

' I haven't got it,' whimpered Lucius. ' I put it out 
to bring, Lut I forgot it. Oh ! oh ! oh ! I shall be 
killed ! I shall be killed !' He flung himself upon the 
floor of the car, grovelling abjectly in the desolation 
of his spirit. 

Another nature might have upbraided Lucius and 
reminded him that the danger was at least equal for 
both of them, and that his was not the only life at 
stake. Not so the old Grizzly. He stooped down, and 
patting the cowering boy on the shoulder, said in 
strong, tender voice, in which lurked no perceptible 
note of anxiety : ' What, Luce ! 'Tain't your par's son 
ter be kyar'in' on like thet. Stand up now — thar's a 
lamb — and be ready ter ketch hold on thet cord ez I 
sling her in.' 

'What are you going to do?' Lucius would have 
said, but the words froze upon his lips, and with eyes 
that bulged with terror he watched his intrepid friend, 
who had kicked off his boots, and with an ashen face, 
but steely eyes and hard-set lips, climbed upon the rim 
of the car and grasped the mass of cordage above his 
head. 

For a moment Lucius felt inclined to faint, but by 
a violent effort he collected his scattered wits, and 
shaking like an aspen leaf, leaned with outstretched 
hand against the side of the car. 

Truly it was a fearful sight. As Ephraim, his feet 
twined among the cordage, slowly mounted towards 
the network, the balloon, drawn by his weight, careened 
over, so that he hung sideways — above him the illimit- 
able blue — below, thousands of feet below him, the 
earth he has so rashly left. Lucius shut his eyes, and 
his brain reeled with the horror of the thing ; but 



GO THE BALLOON COMES DOWN. 

brave old Grizzly never faltered, never hesitated, only 
mounted inch by inch to where the valve cord rested 
on the bellying curve of the balloon. 

At last he reached it, and freeing it swiftly, sent it 
inwards with a turn of the wrist. As one in a dream, 
Lucius saw it waving towards him, opened and shut 
his hand mechanically, caught it, and pulled with all 
his might. 

* Hold on !' roared Ephraim, scrambling once more 
into the car. 'Don't ye lug like thet. Ye '11 hev the 
whole gimbang ter bits, and we '11 go whirlin' down 
quicker 'n we came up.' 

He gently took the cord from Luce's trembling hand 
and made it fast. ' Thar,' he said, ' I reckon we 've 
about exhausted the possibilities fer a spell. We'll 
take a rest, now, thank ye. — Hello !' For as he turned, 
Lucius flung his arms about him. 

' Oh, you dear, brave old Grizzly,' sobbed the over- 
wrought boy. ' You 've saved my life. Oh ! How 
could you go up there in that dreadful place ?' 

The colour rushed back to Ephraim's face in a great 
wave, and while he satisfied himself by a look that 
the balloon was falling, he fondled and soothed the 
boy by his side as a mother might have done. 

' Thar now. Luce ; thar now,' he said tenderly, ' don't 
take on no more. Shucks ! It warn't nuthin', now 
it 's over. We 're going dowm now. Steady, bub, 
steady; we 're jist gittin' ter thet bank of storm-clouds. 
Thar' — drawing Lucius close to him, as the boy 
shivered with apprehension — ' now we 're through that 
lot, and none the worse er it. Look, Luce, look — thar 's 
old Mother Earth. Bullee ! Reckon ye '11 prefer to 
stay down wanst ye git thar.' 



THE BALLOON COMES DOWN. 63 

' Oh, yes,' sobbed Lucius. ' We '11 get home somehow, 
but not in this awful balloon.' 

Old Blue Bag was now rapidly nearing the earth, 
and had the boys had the heart to consider it, a won- 
derful panorama lay stretched out below them. But 
earth in their regard held but one joy just then — it 
was a resting-place, a sure haven of safety, and for its 
beaiaties they had no eye. With one hand on the 
valve cord, and holding a bag of ballast in the other, 
Ephraim regulated their descent. The grapnel was 
out, and as the balloon slowly sank, dragged through 
the tops of the trees in a thick w^ood. Now they were 
past this, and floating over open spaces again. The 
grapnel swept along the ground, caught under the bole 
of a fallen tree — and they were safe. 

'Whoop!' screeched Ephraim, flinging out a rope. 
' I reckon we 've got thar. Over ye go. Luce.' 

Lucius did not wait to be told twice. He simply 
flung himself upon the rope, and scrambling down, 
sank in a confused heap upon the ground. Ephraim 
followed quickly, saw that the balloon was fast and 
secure, and was just bending anxiously over his com- 
panion, when a sudden sound caused him to look up. 

From all directions men in blue uniforms, and guns 
with bayonets fixed in their hands, were running 
towards them. 

' Gloryful gracious !' murmured Ephraim, straighten- 
ing up. ' Ef thet ain't the peskiest kind er luck. 
We 've been and tumbled right inter a nest er Yanks ! ' 




f<y^yj^i 



^JJ' 




CHAPTER V. 




coolly. 



A FIRE-EATING COLONEL. 

URRENDER ! You're our prisoner!' cried 
several of the soldiers, running up and pre- 
senting their bayonets at Ephraim's chest. 

' Waal, I ain't denyin' it,' said Ephraini 
' Reckon I kin master thet fact 'thout ye 
drivin' it inter nie with them nasty spikes. Take 'em 
away.' 

The men laughed, and most of them dropped the 
points of their weapons ; but an officer, who just then 
came up, demanded roughly : ' Who are you ? How 
and why do you come here ?' 

Ephraim considered the speaker earnestly before 
replying, and in that moment took his measure accu- 
rately. 'He's a hard un,' thought Grizzly. 'He'll 
make things hum fer us ef he gits his way.' Aloud he 
said, pointing to the balloon: 'Ye see how we came; 
and ez fer why we came, it war because we couldn't 
help it.' 

' None of your insolence,' said the officer threaten- 
ingly. 'What do you mean by you couldn't help it ?' 

' Jest what I sez,' returned Ephraim, ' and I hadn't 
no idee of bein' insolent nuther. Ye don't 'marine we 



A FIRE-EATING COLONEL. 65 

came fer the pleasure er bein' took prisoner. — I won't 
rile him willin',' he added within himself. 

* Will we haul down this yer balloon, cunnel, and 
see if she carries anything?' asked a sergeant at this 
stage. 

The colonel nodded. ' Now then, you fellow,' he 
said to Ephraim in a bullying tone, ' tell me instantly 
what brought you here ?' 

* The balloon,' replied Ephraim without a pause. 

' Don't humbug me,' foamed the colonel ; ' I see your 
dodge plainly enough. You are trying to gain time in 
order to invent a lie of some sort. But I 'd have you 
know I'm master here, and I'll have the truth out of 
you before I 'm done with you.' 

* Ez fur ez that goes,' began Ephraim, when a voice 
at his elbow said in clear, distinct tones : ' It is you who 
are insolent. Southern gentlemen do not lie.' 

Ephraim started. He had taken all the colonel's 
remarks as addressed to himself, supposing that Lucius 
was still lying on the ground behind him. But, un- 
known to his fi'iend, the younger boy had risen on the 
approach of the colonel, and taken his stand at Grizzly's 
side. To give way when surrounded by dangers of 
such a novel and unimagined order as those from 
which he had just escaped was one thing ; but with 
his feet once more on terra firma, Luce's courage 
returned, and, if he felt any uneasiness at the pre- 
dicament they were in, he certainly did not intend to 
betray it before the enemies he had been taught to 
despise as well as to detest. Therefore, in a very 
emphatic manner he delivered himself of the remark 
just quoted. 

Ephraim turned and looked at Lucius. The boy 



66 A FIRE-EATING COLONEL. 

was standing in an easy attitude, a slight flush upon 
his cheeks, and a defiant light in his eyes. All trace 
of his recent emotion was gone ; and as he stood firmly 
planted — his shoulders squared, his well-knit, youthful 
figure gracefully poised — his whole bearing formed 
such a contrast to that of the red-faced, swaggering 
bully whom he faced, that Ephraim could not repress 
a cry of admiration. 

The poor Grizzly had suflfered a good deal in the last 
half-hour. The fright of Lucius in the balloon he 
could understand, for he had been thoroughly frightened 
himself ; but the utter collapse of his hero was beyond 
him. Not only had he known Lucius heretofore as a 
sturdy, manly boy, but he had always set him upon a 
pinnacle above every one else in the world, and wor- 
shipped him as a superior being, endowed with every 
grace and virtue under the sun. Therefore, when 
mastering his own fears, he had boldly faced a terrible 
danger and overcome it by his presence of mind, the 
abject, grovelling cowardice of Lucius had come upon 
him with a painful shock. He had caught a glimpse 
of the feet of his idol, and, lo ! they were of clay. But 
he covered them reverently up, humiliated rather than 
proud that the accident of opportunity should have 
lifted him so high, and loyally making all manner of 
excuses for his comrade's conduct. All the same, he 
had felt very miserable over it ; but now, when he 
heard the rino-inof scornful voice, and noted how fear- 
lessly Lucius faced the colonel, all his pain fled, his 
doubts were swallowed up, and a great wave of joy 
flooded his honest heart. Ho had been right after all 
— his hero was his hero still, and gold from crown to 
heel. 



A FIRE-EATING COLONEL. 67 

' Whoop !' he shouted in his delight. ' Air ye thar, 
Luce? I didn't see ez ye riz up; but I might hev 
known ye wouldn't be behind when ye orter be in 
front. Thet 's the way ter talk ter him. — A Southern 
gentleman don't lie, mister ; thet 's what he said. 
By time ! ho ! ho ! ho !' 

'Silence, you dog?' vociferated the enraged Federal, 
his dark face aMame with passion, while at the same 
time he menaced Ephraim with his revolver. * I '11 
blow your brains out if you say another word.' 

' Ez ter thet,' retorted Ephraim, his new-born joy 
overcoming his prudence, ' I han't been doin' the high 
trapeze a thousand miles up in the sky ter be skeert 
the moment I come down by a pesky, bunkum Yank, 
sech ez I jedge ye ter be.' 

The colonel ground his teeth with rage, but before 
he could reply, Lucius pushed Ephraim unceremoniously 
to one side. 

' Shut up, Grizzly,' he said ; ' I '11 do the talking. — 
I '11 tell you the truth, if you care to listen to it,' he 
added to the colonel. 

'Tell it then, and be quick about it,' said the latter, 
casting a furious glance at Ephraim. ' And talk more 
civilly than that low hound there, or it will be the 
worse for you.' 

Ephraim opened his mouth, but Lucius silenced him 
with a look, and answered quietly : 

' We left Staunton early this morning in our balloon. 
We only intended to have some fun ; but we were 
nearly killed up there ' — he pointed to the sky — ' and 
were glad enough to descend anywhere. We had no 
idea but what we were close home. Certainly, if we 'd 
thought your army was anywhere around, we wouldn't 



68 A FIRE-EATING COLONEL. 

have been fools enough to drop right into the middle 
of it. That s all' 

The Federal colonel looked darkly at him. 

' That 's all, is it ? ' he sneered. ' A likely story. 
I '11 see for myself.' He turned and walked to the 
balloon, round which the sergeant and half a dozen 
men were grouped, having hauled it down and secured 
it firmly to the log. ' What have you found here, ser- 
geant?' he demanded. 

The sergeant saluted, and pointed silently to a small 
heap of articles which had been taken out of the car 
and laid upon the ground. There were some bread 
and meat, a bottle of milk and another of water, a 
telescope, a revolver and a box of cartridges, a small 
gun — the same which Ephraim had been engaged in 
makino' when the war broke out — two bags with 
powder and shot, and, most compromising of all, the 
tiny rebel flag with its stars and bars, wathin the folds 
of which was concealed a drawing block fitted with a 
lead pencil. 

Lucius stared in astonishment as his eyes fell upon 
this collection, of the existence of which — save for the 
flag — he had till then been unaware ; for at first the 
darkness had concealed them from him, and afterwards, 
when day dawned, his terror had been too great 
and absorbing to allow him to notice anything. Mutely 
questioning, he looked at Ephraim, who, vaguely con- 
scious of coming trouble, muttered hastily : ' It 's all 
rioht, Luce. I put 'em thar, I '11 tell him wanst I 
git the chance.' 

' Be quiet,' answered Lucius in the same low tone. 
' Let me speak.' 

' Stop that whispering,' cried the colonel, coming 



A FIRE-EATING COLONEL. 69 

back. 'You came out for fun, I think you said,' he 
went on with an ugly grin on his face, ' in a balloon, 
too, and in time of war. May I ask, then, to what use 
you intended to put this armament — and this?' He 
held up the sketching block. 

Lucius was silent, not knowing, indeed, what to 
answer, for the full significance of the last article had 
not yet dawned upon him. 

' A Southern gentleman does not lie,' mimicked the 
colonel, a baleful light in his eyes. ' You do well to be 
silent, you couple of rascally spies.' 

Lucius started violently, 'What!' he ejaculated in 
profound astonishment. ' Spies ! ' 

'Ahl'said the colonel,'! thought I should corner 
you. — Search them,' he added to the sergeant. 

Nothing but a few odds and ends such as any boy 
might carry were found upon Lucius, but from 
Ephraim's pocket was drawn a piece of paper on 
which he had scribbled a precis of the news which had 
reached Staunton during the last three weeks, and also 
a road map of the valley, which he had brought with 
him in order that they might have some indication of 
their whereabouts if they were forced to descend in an 
out-of-the-way place. 

' Ha !' exclaimed the colonel, when these were 
brought to light. ' A precious pair of jokers. — Now, 
will you persist in your denial, my fine young Southern 
— gentleman ?' He laid a sneering emphasis upon the 
last word. 

' I haven't denied anything yet,' returned Lucius. 
' I 've never had the chance. I tell you we are a couple 
of boys out for a spree, and that 's all.' 

' You '11 find it a precious unpleasant spree before I 



70 A FIRE-EATING COLONEL. 

get through with you,' said the colonel. ' You may be 
a boy/ he added dubiously, as though the fact were not 
self-evident ; ' but I 'd like to know what you call 
liirti! He glanced malevolently at Ephraim. 

' He 's only nineteen,' answered Lucius, earnestly 
wishing that Grizzly had followed his oft-repeated 
advice, and i-azed the compromising indications of 
manhood from his face. 

' What ! ' scoffed the colonel. ' Nineteen do you call 
him, with a monkey face like that ?' 

' Shave him, then, and you '11 see,' answered Lucius, 
at which remark the soldiers roared, though the boy 
was perfectly serious. 

' Silence ! ' commanded the colonel, Q-oino- on to ob- 
serve caustically : ' Since when have the rebels — I beg 
your pardon ; I have no doubt that a Southern gentle- 
man would prefer that I should speak of Confederates — 
since when, then, have the Confederates employed boys 
to ascertain the movements of the National troops ? ' 

The insolence of his tone fired Luce's blood, and he 
answered scornfully : ' I do not know. Perhaps if you 
had not been so busy running away from them for the 
last three weeks, you might have been able to discover 
for yourself.' 

Now, a more unfortunate remark Lucius could not 
just then have made ; for it so happened that in the 
series of retrograde movements in which the Federals 
had lately been indulging in consequence of Jackson's 
smashing flank attacks, the colonel had taken a some- 
what too prominent part. Indeed in the last melee, 
while gallantly leading his men out of action — very far 
ahead of them — he had somehow become separated 
from his command, and when the balloon descended, 



A FIUE-EATING COLONEL. 71 

had been makino- his way back to the Federal lines 
along with a number of stragglers, whom he had picked 
up en route. So now, when Lucius, amid the sup- 
pressed laughter of the men, made his ill-timed obser- 
vation, the doughty warrior's feelings overflowed, and 
his fury knew no bounds. 

' I '11 teach you to insult your betters, you rebel 
scum,' he shouted. ' I heard of a balloon having been 
lost from our lines on the Potomac. That 's it, I '11 
take my oath. You 've stolen it for your poverty- 
stricken, rascally, rebel friends. That 's what you 've 
done.' 

' We didn 't/ protested Lucius, edging in a word. ' He 
made it.' He indicated Ephraim, 

' Did he ? ' stormed the colonel. ' Where did he learn 
to make balloons, the hairy-faced baboon ? Anyhow, 
if you did or if you didn't steal it, I 've proof enough 
of your object, and I '11 show you how to dance upon 
nothing. Cut a couple of ropes from that balloon and 
string these cubs up to a tree !' he shouted to the men. 

Lucius paled swiftly, but the colour rushed back 
again into his face at once, and he stood with folded 
arms, scornfully fronting the colonel. Ephraim, how- 
ever, took a step forward. 

' Ye dassn't do it, ye dirty fire-eater,' he cried. ' Ye 
dassn't do it, thout 'n a trial or nuthin'. Take us ter 
the ginrul, boys ; he '11 hear what we 've got ter say.' 

* String them up, I say,' roared the colonel, more 
incensed than ever at this defiance. ' String them up, 
and be sharp about it. I '11 let you know,' he ground 
out at Lucius, ' how the gentlemen of the North treat 
the gentlemen of the South when they catch them 
acting as pestilential spies.' 



72 A FIRE-EATING COLONEL. 

' I should think it 's precious little you know of 
gentlemen anywhere,' Lucius answered boldly back. 
* I Ve seen a good many Northerners, and they are brave 
men, if they are fighting an unjust war. But what 
you were before they let you put on a uniform, I don't 
know ; though it wouldn't be hard to guess from the 
look of you. Why, your men are ashamed of you.' 

Two of the men moved slowly towards the balloon. 
The boy's courage appealed to them. They were 
soldiers, and brave soldiers too, though they were 
smitten with a panic now and then as brave soldiers 
have been before and since. They were willing enough 
to fight, but not to soil their hands with such a horrid 
deed as this. Therefore they moved slowly and re- 
luctantly, hoping for a reversal of the order. But 
Ephraim changed his tone. 

' See hyar,' he said submissively, ' I didn't orter hev 
spoke ez I did. I beg your pardon. Jest ye hear me 
a moment.' 

But the colonel would hear nothing. He was beside 
himself with wrath, and could not listen to reason. 
The men had stopped when Ephraim began to speak, 
and now their commander turned furiously upon them. 

' Why don't you obey orders ? ' he shouted at them. 
' I '11 have you shot for mutiny if you stand gaping 
there much longer. Up with them, I say.' 

* Gunnel ! ' shrieked Ephraim in an agony of unselfish 
fear. ' Gunnel, don't do it. As ye 're a Ghristian man, 
don't do it. Ye may string me up, and willin'. I 'm a 
outrageous rebel. I 'm a spy. I 'm whatever you like. 
I came ter make observations. I 'm a spy, I tell ye. 
Hang me up. But don't you tech Luce. He ain't 
done nuthin'. He on'y came because I told him I wuz 



A FIRE-EATING COLONEL. 73 

goin' fer a trip. He knows nuthin' — he 's done nuthin'. 
Let him go ! Let him go ! ' 

' Pah !' ejaculated the colonel. ' Do you suppose I 
don't see your game ? You can't take me in with 
your heroics, you filthy cur, you.' And he spurned 
Ephraim with his foot. 

A mist swam before Luce's eyes. His blood boiled 
over, and, regardless of the consequences, he rushed 
forward. 

' You lie !' he shouted. ' It is for me he wants to die. 
This is the second time to-day. Take that !' and be- 
fore the astonished colonel could comprehend or step 
aside, the infuriated boy struck him twice sharply in 
the face. 

A look as though he were possessed came into the 
colonel's eyes, and his fingers closed nervously upon his 
revolver ; but ere he could use it, if indeed it were his 
intention to do so, Ephraim stooped suddenly, and 
catching him round the legs, flung him sprawling on his 
back. Then, with a wild yell of ' Run ! Luce, run !' he 
rushed for the shelter of the woods. 

After him dashed Lucius, hard upon his heels, as the 
colonel, foaming and splattering, staggered to his feet 
and discharged his revolver at random. 

' Follow them !' he roared. And the men, alarmed at 
what might be the consequences to themselves if they 
refused, hastened in pursuit. But they had no heart 
for the game, and once out of sight among the trees, 
halted or scattered, and presently the fugitives, doub- 
ling like hares in and out of the dark boles, heard the 
noise of following footsteps die away, and sank, 
panting and exhausted, on the mossy carpet beneath 
an aofed oak. 







CHAPTER VI. 



A FREE BREAKFAST, 




•Y time !' gasped Epbraim, struggling to 
recover his breath, ' Thet war a narrow 
squeak. Hi ! Luce, how ye plugged him.' 
He chuckled gleefully, 

Lucius only nodded. He was too short of wind to 
attempt to speak. 

' If I 'd on'y had my gun, I 'd hev gin him ez good 
ez he gin me and better,' went on Ephraim. 'D'ye 
reckon he war in 'arnest, Luce, with his talk about 
hangin', or war it on'y jest ter skeer us 'cause we 
riled him ?' 

' Just — as — well — got — away — think he — meant it,' 
panted Lucius, still breathless. 

' Ah ! waal, maybe he did. Sorter knocks out one's 
belief in one's feller-critters, though, runnin' up agin 
a pestiferous calamity like that cunnel, Howsumever, 
w^e got the bulge on him, we did. My ! Luce, ye air a 
man right down ter yer boots !' 

' I 'm a miserable coward, that 's what I am,' said 
Lucius passionately. ' After the way I behaved in the 
balloon, I wonder you would do anything for me.' He 



A FREE BREAKFAST. 75 

shuddered, though, as he spoke, at the frightful 
reminiscence. 

'Ezter thet,' returned Ephraim, 'nobody could say 
a word agin ye fer bein' sot back. 'Twar an onusual 
kind er stomachful fer a young man jest out fer a 
picnic' 

' That 's all very well,' lamented Lucius, ' but I dis- 
graced myself. You know I did.' 

'Shucks!' remarked Ephraim. 'Look at what ye 
did jest now. But say,' he went on, wishful to close 
the discussion, ' we can't stay here after what that red- 
faced old lump er mischief said.' 

'What did he say?' inquired Lucius. 'I was so 
busy getting away that I 'm afraid I was rude enough 
not to pay any attention.' 

' Same here,' grinned Ephraim ; ' but I heard him 
'tween whiles. " FoUer them up," he yells ter the 
soldiers. " Ye '11 drive 'em straight inter our lines." ' 

'What did he mean by that?' asked Lucius. 'I 
should have thought we were within the Yankee lines 
when we were taken prisoners.' 

' Waal, we kinder war, and we kinder warn't,' said 
Ephraim. ' This is the way I put it up,' he went on 
to explain with considerable shrewdness. 'I 'magine 
thar must hev been a fight somewhar around hyar, and 
the cunUel thar, whatever his name is, has lit out er 
harm's way. He started off ter make his way back 
ter the camp, gatherin' up men ez he Avent along, and 
unfortnitly fer us, he happened ter cross the clearin' 
et the precise moment we came down in it.' Which, as 
the reader knows, is just what had happened. 

' Well, he '11 have a fine story to tell when he does 
get back to camp,' laughed Lucius. 



76 A FREE BREAKFAST. 

'Won't he?' laughed Ephraim back. 'Ye may 
resk your last dime he won't make no small thing of 
it. My ! I wish we could be thar ter hear him.' 

' Oh, thank you,' said Lucius hilariously. ' I 've had 
enough of him for one day. I shall be quite content 
to read his speech in the papers.' 

' Ho ! ho ! ho !' guffawed Ephraim. ' Ain't ye jest 
ticklish. Luce ■' 

They were both so overjoyed at their escape from 
the double danger of the morning that they had no 
room left for further apprehension. But presently 
Ephraim was recalled to a sense of the gravity of the 
situation by the distant notes of a bugle. 

'Hear thet!' he exclaimed. ' Thet tells ye. Say, 
Luce, it won't do fer us to set still hyar. Don't ye 
know this kentry's full er Yanks. It 's bound ter be. 
We must try and make our way ter old Stonewall's 
lines.' 

' Where are they, I wonder,' said Lucius. 

' I wish I knew. Fact is, I 'd no idee we could hev 
come so fer. I thort we must be close home.' He 
called it /iit?7i. 

' So did I,' agreed Lucius. ' Old Blue Bag, as you 
call that horrible balloon, must have travelled far and 
fast.' 

' I wish we war in her now,' said Ephraim dis- 
consolately. 

' Oh ! no, no, no,' exclaimed Lucius vehemently. ' I 'd 
rather be hanged a hundred times than go throuoh 
that horrible experience again.' 

' Waal, ye wouldn't feel the ninety-nine, after ye 'd 
got comfortably done witli the first,' said Ephraim 
with one of his quiet grins. ' But it don't foller. 



A FREE BREAKFAST. 77 

because we got into one rumpus up in the clouds, thet 
we 'd immediately git inter another. We wouldn't go 
so high for one thing.' 

' No, no,' I tell you,' cried Lucius, almost as terrified 
at the prospect as he had been at the reality. 'I 
wouldn't get into the awful thing again to save my 
life.' 

Ephraim looked at him silently for a moment. Then 
he said with a little sigh : ' Waal, Luce, I reckon ye 
won't be put ter it ter make the choice, fer by this 
time I should say old Blue Bag has either been busted 
by thet pesky cunnel, or took inter camp by the men.' 

'Oh!' said Lucius regretfully, 'I am real mean, 
Grizzly, after all the trouble you took to make it.' 

'Waal, waal, I ain't keerin,' answered Ephraim 
hastily. ' It 's gone now, and thar 's an end er it. Ye '11 
oblige me. Luce, if ye don't say no more about it. — 
Hark !' as the bugle sounded once more. ' Thet tells us 
we 'd better quit.' 

' I wonder what it means,' pondered Lucius, rising 
to his feet. 

'What, thet call?' answered Ephraim. 'Breakfast, 
I 'raagine. I know I feel it must be somewhar about 
that time. Got yer watch V 

' No,' replied Lucius ; ' I forgot that, like every thing- 
else, in my hurry to leave home.' 

He thought for a minute and added : ' Say, Grizzly, 
how are we to know but what that bugle is being 
blown in our own lines somewhere ? It 's as likely 
as not.' 

' Thar 's suthin' in what ye say,' answered Ephraim. 
'We sutt'nly don't know whether old Stonewall is 
ahead of us, or behind, or to the right or to the left. 



78 A FREE BREAKFAST. 

We don't know nuthin', and wo can't see nuthin' fer 
this pesky wood shuttin' out the sky. E£ we could 
see the sun, we might git an idee of the lay of the 
land. We '11 move on, anyway.' 

'In what direction then ?' 

' It don't matter. All roads is alike sence we don't 
know the right one. We '11 mov^e towards the music. 
On'y we must feel our way cautious.' 

'And keep a sharp eye for the colonel,' observed 
Lucius. 

' By time ! j^es. I wouldn't give much fer our chances 
ef he gripped holt on us now after that smack in the 
face ye gin him. Ef he warn't in 'arnest before, he 
will be ef ever he ketches us agen.' 

' He owes you one as well. Grizzly, for the tumble 
3^ou gave him,' laughed Lucius. 

' I reckon,' answered Ephraim. ' But then he war 
down on me right from the beginnin', 'cause he got it 
inter his thick head I meant ter be impident ter him.' 

They walked along for half an hour or so, entirely 
io-norant of their direction, until at last the trees 
began to thin out, and it was evident that they were 
approaching either the edge of the wood or another 
clearing. Past experience had taught them caution, 
and they were wise enough not to break cover until 
they had very carefully surveyed their surroundings. 
It was as well. Stealing from tree to tree and tread- 
ing as softly as they could, they at length reached a 
point where they could see into the open. 

What a sight ! Grand, impressive, but just then 
particulaidy alarming to our two boys, for right in 
front of them, upon a small hillock, frowned eight 
black -muzzled cannon, while a lane which led from a 



A FREE BREAKFAST. 79 

handsome house to a mill beside the stream was 
packed with Federal troops. Camp-fires were blazing 
and crackling cheerily in the open, and the grateful 
odour of coffee was wafted to the noses of the hungry 
boys. Ephraim signalled silently with his hand, and 
as quietly as they had come, the two glided back into 
the friendly shelter of the deep woods. 'By time!' 
whispered Ephraim, when they had reached a safe 
point, as they thought, ' thet was a mighty nasty sight. 
Ef we 'd walked inter the open, we 'd hev been goners 
shore enuff.' 

'It looked as if they were expecting something,' 
whispered Lucius back. 

' It 's maybe old Stonewall they 're waitin' fer,' said 
Ephraim. ' Shucks ! ef we git between their firin', 
we '11 be a heap wusser off 'n we war in Blue Bag.' 

' That 's not possible,' afiirmed Lucius, with another 
shudder. The impression left upon him was evidently 
not likely to fade in a hurry. 

'My land, Luce!' exclaimed Ephraim, who had been 
thinking so deeply that he failed to hear his com- 
panion's remark, ' I tell je we 're in a prettj' mess.' 

' Why, what's wrong now ?' asked Lucius. 

'I'll tell ye. Thar's the Yankee army, or a right 
smart slice of it, way aback yander, frontin' the wood. 
Now it ain't likely that if they 're on the lookout for 
old Stonewall — and I reckon they air — thet they 'd 
leave this wood unguarded jest for him to pop right 
out on 'em and give 'em howdy while they war 
drinkin' their coffee. Is it, now ?' 

' No, it isn't,' admitted Lucius. ' Well ?' 

' Waal, ye may be ez shore ez ye air standin' whar 
ye air that the wood is full er their pickets; likely 



80 A FREE BREAKFAST. 

enough the last line er 'em is almost tecliin' noses with 
Stonewall's men. Anyway, we 've got 'em all round 
us, and between us and our own boys, wharever they 
may be. Ye kin make yer mind easy on thet. And 
it's a mercy we han't come plump on some er 'em 
before now.' 

* Then we 're about done for,' said Lucius. ' It 's 
only a question of time before we light on some of 
them if we keep on walking.' 

' Hold on, sonny,' returned Ephraim cheerfully. ' It 
ain't so bad ez thet yit. It's pretty tough, this situa- 
tion is, I '11 allow ; but we ain't goin' ter Fortress 
Monroe 'thout a worry ter git back ter Staunton. Ye 
see,' he went on, ' they 're bound to be pretty thick in 
the wood ; but et the same time they can't be every- 
whar. We '11 keep on going cautious, and maybe we '11 
out-flank 'em yit. Come on !' 

' I wish we had a couple of pots of their coffee,' 
sighed Lucius. ' My ! didn't it smell good ?' 

' We '11 forage ez we go along,' said Ephraim. ' Ye 
never know what ye '11 find ef ye keep on looking.' 

The truth of this bit of philosophy presently became 
unpleasantly manifest, for after they had wandered on 
for a quarter of an hour, Lucius suddenly pulled up 
short with a smothered exclamation of disgust. 

'What is it?' muttered Ephraim. 'D'ye see any 
one V 

For answer Lucius pointed with his right hand, 
averting his face, which was very pale. Ephraim 
followed the guiding finger. ' By time !' he exclaimed, 
' they 've got it shore enuft".' 

A few paces away and close together were the dead 
bodies of two Federal soldiers, lying on their backs 



A FREE BREAKFAST. 81 

with white, upturned faces, and sightless eyes that 
stared fixed up into the dense foliage that swept above 
them. 

'Pore critters!' said Ephraim sympathetically, all 
feeling but that of humanity banished for the moment 
from his breast. ' Thar 's somebody lookin' for them 
ez will be sorry they don't come home. Thar must 
hev been a rumpus round hyar lately. Luce.' 

'I don't see any more,' answered Lucius, looking 
round ; ' and there are no signs of a struggle anywhere 
about.' 

' Why, thet 's so,' admitted Ephraim, also surveying 
the ground. ' Waal then, how do they come ter be 
lyin' thar ? — I '11 tell ye, Luce, most likely thar war a 
fight yesterday, and they got wounded. Then they 
sot out ter fetch up ter their own lines agen, and death 
follered 'em up and overtook 'em before they could git 
thar. See hyar,' he continued, kneeling down by the 
fallen men, ' this one has a hole in the right side er his 
coat. He must hev bled ter death inside. And the 
other one hez got it in the leg. See, his trousers is all 
over blood, and he 's tied his handkerchief round the 
place ter try and stop the bleedin'. The wonder is 
thet he war able to walk at all. Maybe he crawled. 
Pore critters ! pore critters !' 

'How can you bear to touch them?' said Lucius 
faintly. ' They look dreadful.' 

' Ah !' returned Ephraim sententiously, ' it 's a pictur 
er the war tliet didn't strike us afore we set out, or 
maybe we wouldn't hev been in such a hurry to come. 
Ye kin see now. Luce,' he finished grimly, ' what we 'd 
hev looked like ef the cunnel hed got his way.' 

'Don't!' exclaimed Lucius. 'Come on. Let us get 

F 



82 A FREE BREAKFAST. 

out of this. We can't do them any good by staring at 
them.' 

' Thet 's so,' acquiesced Ephraim, rising to his feet. — 
'By time ! thet 's a good idee,' he suddenly ejaculated. 
' I tell ye what it is, Luce. Ye air right when ye say 
we can't do them no good, pore men ; but I reckon it 
won't do 'em enny harm nuther, ef we make use of 
'em fer our own benefit.' 

'Why, what do you mean?' inquired Lucius, be- 
wildered. ' How can we make use of them ?' 

'See their clothes?' answered Ephraim. 'Ef we 
git inside 'em, it'll be ez good ez a free pass ter us 
anywhar about the Yankee lines. Come now. Luce,' 
as the boy made a gesture of horror, 'this ain't no 
time fer bein' squeamish. We 're in a muss, and 
we 're bound to git out of it the best way we kin. 
Besides, it can't hurt them, remember.' 

'It's too awful!' gasped Lucius. 'It's robbing 
the dead.' 

'It ain't nuthin' of the kind,' retorted Ephraim. 
* It 's on'y their coats and trousers we want, and their 
caps. I reckon Uncle Sam paid fer thet lot. And 
we '11 cover 'em up with our own. Come now, Luce, 
do be reasonable.' 

He knelt down again and with no irreverent touch 
began to remove the outer garments from one of the 
fallen men. ' This one 's not much taller than ye air 
yourself. Luce,' he said, throwing the coat and trousers 
towards the reluctant Lucius. *Ye kin take this lot. 
The other man's about my height. Not so lanky, 
maybe ; but it '11 do, I reckon. Ah ! now, Luce, make 
up yer mind and put 'em on. We han't got so much 
time ez all thet.' 



A FREE BREAKFAST. 83 

He threw off his own clothes and assumed the 
uniform he had chosen, and in a moment or two 
Lucius, bowing to the stronger will, did likewise. 

'Feel in the pockets, Luce,' suggested Ephraim. 
'Ef thar's ennything they set store by, I reckon we 
don't want to take it away from 'em.' But search 
revealed nothing. The dead Federals had evidently 
been both poor and friendless. Probably they had 
enlisted as substitutes, or as bounty men, no one 
caring where they went to or what became of them. 
Arms and accoutrements they had none, for these had 
been flung away for lightness' sake when they started 
on their last sad march. Quietly and carefully 
Ephraim laid the clothes they had discarded over 
the corpses, and then, turning to Lucius, who still 
remained distressfully silent, took him by the arm 
and led him away from the dismal spot. 

' I wish we 'd got their guns,' said the Grizzly, a 
few moments later. ' I 'd hev felt safer thet way ; 
but I reckon they throwed 'em off somewhar. No 
matter, we 've found so much already thet we may 
run up against some in good time.' 

' I hope we shall not run up against any more dead 
men,' said Lucius dismally, 

'I 'm with ye thar,' answered Ephraim. ''Tain't the 
purtiest sight in the world, I '11 allow. — My ! Luce, ye 
do look a spruce young soldier, I tell ye.' 

'Do I?' said Lucius, smiling faintly. 'I'm afraid 
I don't feel very like one just now. That poor 
man was taller than you thought, Grizzly. The 
coat is all right, but the trousers are dreadfully 
long.' 

' Roll 'em up a bit, then,' advised the Grizzly. ' Set 



84 A FREE BREAKFAST. 

your cap a leetle more ter wan side. Thar, now ye '11 
do. Say, ain't we a pair er fust-class invaders when 
all 's said and done ? ' 

' You seem to have forgotten one thinsf,' said Lucius 
lightly, for he was beginning to accommodate himself 
to circumstances. 

' And what might that be, bub ?' 

' Why, though no doubt M^e shall be all right if we 
meet any Federals so long as we have these uniforms 
on, yet, suppose we run against our own men, where 
shall we be then ? ' 

' Safe, I reckon,' answered Ephraim promptly. ' I 
guess in thet case we '11 be took prisoners, and if 
we 're not, why, we '11 give ourselves up ter the fust 
Confederate we set eyes on, and arsk him ter be 
obligin' enuff ter arrest us.' 

'But supposing they shoot before they ask?' went 
on Lucius. 

* I '11 be durned ef I suppose ennything er the kind,' 
retorted Ephraim. ' I '11 wait till it happens and then 
tell ye both what I think of it. — Thar 's wan thing, 
though, Luce,' he added. 'Ye look all right in wan 
way, smart and spry and all thet ; but ye 're too 
young by a long sight.' 

' I can't help that,' giggled Lucius, ' unless you '11 
lend me a bit of your beard.' 

' I would and willin',' answered Ephraim seriously, 
' ef it would stick on. — Hi ! I 've got a notion. Hold 
up a minnit, Luce. Ye mustn't mind ef I spoil yer 
beauty a bit.' 

He grubbed up a handful of loose soil as he spoke, 
and catching hold of the astonished Lucius, rubbed 
it well into his face and neck. 



A FREE BREAKFAST. 85 

'What's that for?' cried Lucius indignantly, start- 
ing hack. 

'Reckon thet's taken some er the bloom off 'n ye,' 
grinned Ephraim. ' Hold on ! I han't finished with 
ye yet. Plague take it, I wish I hadn't lost my knife. 
By time ! hyar 's one in the corner er this yer coat 
pocket. What a good thing ! I never felt it before. 
Now, lend us yer handkercher.' 

' Why,' said Lucius, handing him the required article, 
' whatever are you going to do ?' 

' I '11 show ye afore ye kin turn round,' replied the 
Grizzly, and opening the clasp-knife, deliberately 
cut his finger. 

' Grizzly !' cried Lucius. 'Are you gone mad ?' 

' Not me,' retorted Ephraim coolly. ' Never felt 
more level-headed in all my life, thank ye. See 
thet now.' 

He let the blood from his finger drip upon Luce's 
handkerchief until the latter was thoroughly spotted 
with the bright red stains. 

* Now then, up she goes,' he cried ; and plucking off 
Luce's cap, with a deft turn he bound the blood- 
soaked handkerchief about the boy's brow. 'Thar,' 
he chuckled, as he replaced the cap, and stepped back- 
wards to survey his handiwork. ' Ye '11 do now, I 
should say. Why, don't ye know, thet puts three or 
four years outer ye at once. Not ter speak er it 
givin' ye a look ez ef ye 'd come through some tar'ble 
hard fightin'. We kin move along now 'thout worryin' 
ourselves. Luce, fer thar ain't a Yank ez is likely ter 
stop us, 'ceptin', ef course, ef we 're seen tryin' ter 
pass the pickets.' 

' You 're a genius, Grizzly, as I 've said before/ re- 



86 A FREE BREAKFAST. 

marked Lucius. 'But I wish you hadn't cut your 
finger like that.' 

' Pooh ! 'tain't nuthin',' answered Ephraim, vigorously 
sucking the wounded member. ' I tell ye what it is, 
Luce, ef we don't git suthin' ter eat pretty soon, I '11 
hev ter begin on my boots. I 'm thet low, ye can't 
imagine.' 

'Can't I?' replied Lucius. 'Ever since I got that 
whift' of coffee in my nostrils, I've been sighing for 
some. Seriously, though, we must get food some- 
where. We can't go on walking all day upon nothing.' 

'The cunnel 'lowed he war goin' ter teach us ter 
dance upon nuthin',' said Ephraim, chuckling at the 
reminiscence. ' The very fust Yank I come across, 
I 'm goin' up ter him to arsk him fer a bite er suthin'.' 

'And suppose he hasn't got anything ?' 

' Oh ! drap yer supposin', Luce. I tell ye it 's a 
sartinty. But 'sposin' he han't, since ye will be always 
'sposin', then I '11 eat him ez he stands, and make no 
bones about it.' 

' Supposing it 's the colonel,' laughed Lucius. 

' Aw, yah ! No, I wouldn't tech his pesky carcass 
with a forty-foot pole with an iron spike on the end 
er it.' 

' I 'd mve somethinef to know whereabouts we are,' 

OCT ' 

said Lucius. ' How do we know we are in the valley 
at all ?' 

'Pho!' answered Ephraim, 'I 'low I never thought 
er it in thet light. Er co'se we mought hev been 
blown across the Blue Ridge during the night ; but 
I reckon not. I should say we 're in the valley right 
enufF, somewhar 'twixt Staunton and Winchester.' 

' That 's a wide range.' 



A FREE BREAKFAST. 87 

' Waal, I know thet ; but it 's the best I kin do fer 
ye till we git outer this wood and strike up agin some 
spot that '11 serve us as a landmark. — Hello ! Hyar 
we come ter the edge er the wood agen. Hist ! now. 
Let 's go cautious.' 

Had they but known it, they were not a quarter 
of a mile from the spot where they had observed the 
Federal cannon planted, for they had simply been 
wandering round and round among the trees, and 
before long would probably have found themselves 
back again in view of the Federal camp. They had 
simply changed their direction slightly without ever 
getting very far from the open country, and now they 
halted to hold a short council of war. 

* I tell ye what it is,' began Ephraim. ' Thar 's no 
sense in our moochin' round through the woods like 
this, never beginnin' anywhar, and always endin' up 
nowhar. We '11 go now and take a squint inter the 
open, and ef the kentry seems cl'ar, we '11 march along 
the edge of the woods instead of through 'em. That '11 
be a lump better, and et the fust sign er danger we 
kin slip back among the trees.' 

' That sounds a good idea,' agreed Lucius. 

' Well, come and let us survey the ground right 
hyar.' 

They advanced together, cautiously still, but more 
boldly than before, for their disguises gave them 
confidence, and they were not now so concerned 
at the prospect of meeting a stray Federal or two, 
provided they could keep clear of the pickets. 

'Thar's not a soul in sight, Luce,' said Ephraim, 
peering through the trees. — ' Hello ! I see a house.' 

' Where ? ' asked Lucius, edging up to him. 



88 A FREE BREAKFAST. 

* Thar, a hundred yards or so away ter the left. 
That is, ef ye call it a house, fer I reckon it's on'y 
a log cabin.' 

The cabin, for such it really was, to which Ephraim 
drew his comrade's attention, stood folded in, as it 
were, between two out-jutting arms of the wood. 
The long arm, the actual trend of the wood in the 
same line as the boys, swept so close to the back 
of the house as to almost touch it. Certainly not 
more than ten paces separated the one from the 
other. The second arm, formed by a spur of the 
wood springing off almost at right angles to the 
main forest, bounded a clearing in front and at the 
far side of the house. Looked at from the boys' point 
of view, the back of the house with a solitary window 
was in full view, one side partly visible, while the 
front and far side were quite out of their line of sight. 

' Thar don't seem no one ter stop us,' said Ephraim, 
after they had studied the position for a few minutes. 
' I vote we go up ter thet cabin, and ef the owner's 
ter hum, we kin arsk him fer some breakfast.' 

'I like the notion,' answered Lucius, smacking his 
lips. ' I suppose we may take it for granted that it 
isn't a Yankee who inhabits the house.' 

'In the valley ! I should smile !' remarked Ephraim 
with fine scorn. 'Anyway we'll be all right, fer 
ef by any accident it is a bunkum Yank thet 
lives thar, our uniforms will fetch him. He can't 
help hisself when it comes to feedin' a wounded com- 
rade.' He glanced at the handkerchief on Luce's head 
and grinned. ' But thar,' he went on, ' what 'd a 
Yank be doin' farmin' in the valley ? I guess it '11 
be all squar. Come and let's see.' 



A FREE BREAKFAST. 89 

They re-entered the wood and worked their way 
along, keeping well within the trees until they came 
opposite to the back of the cabin. The window, or 
rather hole in the wall which did duty for such, 
was destitute of glass, and the shutter which served 
to close it swung idly on creaking hinges in the 
lipfht morninof breeze. 

' Smell that !' said Ephraim, sniffing the air. ' The 
old man, whoever he is, has got hot coffee fer break- 
fast. This ain't no fat thing, I reckon. Oh, no !' He 
rubbed his hands together gleefully. 

'On you go, then,' urged Lucius. 'Only go easy. 
We don't want to put our heads into a hornet's nest.' 

They left the cover of the woods, and crossing 
the narrow strip of ground, approached the window 
and looked into the cabin. 

It was a one-roomed affair, built entirely of logs, 
with no flooring and no ceiling. Only under the 
roof three or four strong rafters ran from end to 
end, and across these at one end were laid half a 
dozen stout planks or slabs, forming a makeshift 
loft. The remainder of the roof space was vacant 
and unboarded. Not quite opposite to the window 
was the door, which was closed, and in the middle of 
the solitary chamber stood — oh! gracious and appetite- 
inspiring sight! — a rough-hewn table, covered with 
all manner of delicacies. A pot of steaming coffee 
was flanked by three or four tin cups full of milk, 
and a fine cut of ham stood royally among tinned 
meats of sorts, broken biscuits, and last, but not least, 
a jar of jam. And all this spread of dainties stood 
unheeded. Apparently there was no one to enjoy it. 
'By time!' whispered Ephraim. 'Did ever ye see 



90 A FREE BREAKB^AST. 

the like ? The old man is goin' ter hev a good time 
fcr once, I 'magine. Step right in, Luce. We won't 
wait till he comes in. I 'ra sartin he 'd like us to 
make ourselves at home.' 

' Hush !' whispered Lucius back warningly. ' I 
am sure I hear some one.' 

'Keep still, then, till I go and reckoniter,' breathed 
Ephraim. ' I won't be a minnit.' 

He stole away round the hut, and presently returned, 
his face purple, and the sleeve of his tunic stuffed 
into his mouth to prevent the inward laughter which 
convulsed him from finding outward expression. ' By 
time !' he chuckled softly, as soon as he had regained 
his self-command. ' Sech a joke ! Lay low. Luce. 
Say nuthin' ; but laugh !' 

'Why, what is it?' whispered Lucius. 'What did 
you see ?' 

'Ye'd never begin ter believe it,' responded Ephraim 
in the same soft undertone. ' Who d' ye think thet 
breakfast 's fer ? Why, fer the Yankee gin'ruls they- 
selves. There's a knot of 'em way yander in the 
clearin' 'sputin' 'bout suthin' ; and there 's a sentry 
marchin' up and down before the door as stiff as 
a ramrod. By time ! it 's lucky they didn't think 
of guardin' the window.' 

' It was the sentry I heard,' said Lucius. 

' I reckon. No matter. In with ye, bub. We '11 
help 'em through with some er thet ham and them 
crackers, and be off' again before ye kin say knife.' 

Lucius needed no second invitation, and followed 
closely by Ephraim, climbed noiselessly through the 
window. Without loss of time they drank off the 
mugs of milk, leaving the coffee untasted, because 



A FREE BREAKFAST. 91 

it was SO very hot, iind delays were dangerous. Then, 
while Lucius stalled his pockets full of crackers, 
Ephraim employed his clasp-knife to better purpose 
than cutting his own fingers by slicing off a goodly 
wedge of the ham. 

'Ready, Luce?' the Grizzly whispered, his face 
beaming with delight at the humour of the thing. 
* 'Twon't do ter wait f er our hosts. There 'd be a 
leetle too much ter pay.' 

Lucius nodded. He had just absorbed an enormous 
mouthful of jam, and was consequently unable to 
speak. But he sneaked to the window after Ephraim. 

' Bring the jam along,' whispered the latter. ' It '11 
go fine with the crackers.' 

He thrust his head out of the window, preparatory 
to climbing out, but instantly drew it in again with 
a low exclamation of intense disgust. 

'What is it?' asked Lucius, who naturally could 
not see. 

' Thar 's a whole posse of soldiers jest ter the right 
at the edge er the woods,' replied Ephraim. ' They 're 
settin' on the ground, so I reckon they mean ter 
stay. We 're trapped, Luce, and thet 's a fact. Ef it 
warn't fer thet pesky sentry outside the door with 
his gun and all, we 'd make a dash fer it, and never 
mind the gin'ruls. Ez it is, we 're done. No matter ; 
we '11 jest hev ter brazen it out the best way we kin. 
They '11 take us fer two of their own men, and they 
can't shoot us fer keepin' ourselves from starvin'.' 

' Why not get up there and hide ? It 's as dark 
as night,' suggested Lucius, who in looking round the 
hut had discovered the improvised loft mentioned 
above. 



92 A FREE BREAKFAST. 

'Git up whar ?' inquired Ephraim, who had not 
noticed it. ' By time ! The very place. Up with ye, 
Luce. They 're coniin' up. Hear their talk.' 

Lucius replaced the jam upon the table, and making 
a leap from the ground, caught hold of one of the 
rafters and swung himself up on to the planking. 
Ephraim only waited to scatter a few crackers by the 
window and fling a couple more outside, and then he 
too sprang up and joined his comrade. 

' What did you do that for ?' asked Lucius. 

' Ye '11 see when they come in. Mum 's the word ! 
Hyar they air.' 

They retreated to the farthest extremity of the 
planking, against the gable of the hut, where they 
threw themselves down at full length ; for, as Grizzly 
remarked, they might have to stay there for some 
time, and it would not do to run the risk of becoming- 
cramped. 

Their faces were towards the open space where the 
table was set, and themselves completely hidden, not 
only by their position but by the surrounding gloom, 
they could see clearly all over the room, except imme- 
diately underneath them. 

Scarcely had they taken their positions when the 
door swung open, and with a loud clatter of voices and 
jingling of swords, three Federal officers entered the 
hut. 











54^rs^ 



CHAPTER VII. 




NO. XX. COMPANY D OF THE 'TRAILING TERRORS. 

A !' exclaimed the foremost of the three 
officers, who wore the uniform of a general, 
' I don't know about you, gentlemen, but 
I am quite ready for my breakfast. — 
Eh ! What ! Who ? The dickens ! — Here, sergeant ! 
Orderly-sergeant Cox !' 

' Sir ! ' answered the orderly-sergeant, dashing into 
the hut at the loud, imperative summons. 

'What is the meaning of this ?' demanded General 
Shields, for it was he. ' What is the meaning of it, 
sir ? ' he thundered, as Sergeant Cox simply stared at 
him without attempting to reply. 

' Meaning, sir ? Meaning of what, sir ? ' stammered 
the bewildered orderly at last. 

*0f this,' vociferated the general, pointing to the 
table. ' Look at that ham ! Look at those crackers ! 
Observe the jam ! Where is the milk ?' 

' Ham, sir ! Yes, sir. Jam, sir ! No, sir. Milk — 
crackers, sir,' stuttered the unfortunate Cox, ruefully 
regarding the denuded table, the lacerated ham, and 
the empty mugs, which but a few moments before he 
had himself seen filled with rich creamy milk. 



94 THE TRAILING TERRORS. 

A loud snort burst from Lucius, who, between the 
angry face of the general and the utter amazement 
of the orderly, found the situation too much for him, 
and would simply have suffocated had not this timely 
explosion of mirth suddenly relieved him. Fortunately 
the sound was swallowed up in the shout of laughter 
which, at the same moment, broke from the other two 
officers, in the midst of which Ephraim found time to 
whisper hurriedly : 

' It 's too funny, Luce. But hold up. Don't ye do 
that agen, or we 're ruined shore and certain.' 

'Ha! ha! ha!' roared one of the officers, a stout, 
good-humoured-looking brigadier. ' Evidently a forag- 
ing party has been beforehand with us. By George ! 
general, it's a mercy they left us so much as a single 
cracker. You had better have taken my advice and 
had breakfast outside, notwithstanding the tendency 
of the bugs to drop uninvited into the coffee. Ha ! ha !' 

The angiy look died out of General Shields's eyes, 
the wrinkles at the root of his nose smoothened out 
again, and after a momentary struggle he gave way 
and joined heartily in the laughter of his subordinates. 
'Well, well, it can't be helped now,' he said — 'it is the 
fortune of war ; but if I can lay hands on the rascal 
who has played us this trick, I '11 — I '11 feed him on 
jam till he 's so sick of it, he won't be in a hurry to 
plunder his general again.' He broke into fresh 
laughter, till, remembering the presence of the orderly, 
he restrained himself, and inquired sharply, ' What are 
you doing there ?' 

Orderly-sergeant Cox, who, now that his terror and 
confusion had been sent to the right-about by the 
hilarity of the officers, would have given a good deal 



THE TRAILING TERRORS. 95 

to be able to express his own feelings in the same way, 
saluted silently, swung on his heel, and made for the 
door. 

' Stop !' ordered the general, and Cox swung round 
again, managing by a violent effort to dismiss the grin 
which he had allowed to overspread his features the 
moment he had turned his back. 

'Any news of Colonel Spriggs?' asked General 
Shields. 

' Can't say, sir.' 

'Very good. My compliments to him, when he 
returns, if he returns, and I wish to see him at once.' 

'Here, sir?' 

' Anywhere. Wherever I happen to be. I can be 
found, I suppose.' 

' Very well, sir,' and with another salute Orderly- 
sergeant Cox withdrew. 

' I believe that beggar knows more of this than he 
cares to say,' observed General Shields, mournfully 
regarding the remains of the ham. 

' Oh, not he,' laughed the fat brigadier ; ' I never 
saw a fellow look so utterly flabbergasted. No, no, 
general, your thieves have come and gone through 
this window. See, here are some of the spoils dropped 
both inside and out.' 

Ephraim nudged Lucius gently, as much as to say : 
'Now you see my object in scattering the crackers 
there. It was to distract attention from our hiding- 
place.' And Lucius answered by a responsive nudge, 
which signified comprehension. 

' There are the thieves, or I am much mistaken,' 
continued the brigadier, as his eye fell on the soldiers 
who were resting on their arms at the edo-e of the 



96 THE TRAILING TERRORS. 

wood. ' But I imagine it would be hopeless to try and 
get an admission out of them.' 

' Better make the best of what is left,' said General 
Shields. 'Fall to, gentlemen. It is half-past six 
now, and news from the bridge should soon reach us.' 

Only half-past six ! The boys heard this announce- 
ment with surprise. True, they had dropped from the 
clouds very shortly after daybreak ; but the long light 
of the summer morning, and the crowding of so many 
events into a short space, had confused their sense of 
time, and they had imagined it to be much later. 

The day had begun early for more than Lucius and 
Ephraim. Movements were afoot which were destined 
to bring about very important results, and the news 
from the bridge, which the Federal general so calmly 
anticipated, was likely, when it arrived, to disturb his 
equilibrium a good deal more than the loss of his 
breakfast. 

For the last four and thirty days, Stonewall Jackson 
had been making matters very lively for the northern 
invaders. He was considerably outnumbered, but with 
such consummate skill did he handle his forces, that he 
was able to attack and beat the Federal generals in 
detail, one after another ; nor, chase him up and down 
as they would, could they ever succeed in effecting a 
combination of their entire armies against him. In- 
deed, the rapidity of Jackson's movements astounded 
the Federals, for scarcely did they receive reliable 
news of him in one place than he was upon them in 
another, and considering the number and vigour of 
their marvellous forced marches, it is no wonder that 
his brigades proudly christened themselves ' Stonewall 
Jackson's Foot Cavalry.' 



THE TRAILING TERRORS. 97 

After defeating- Milroy, Jackson had rushed through 
the valley to Winchester, where he fell upon General 
Banks so fiercely and suddenly that the latter was 
driven in the wildest confusion clear across the 
Potomac. The dashing Confederate leader then 
retreated up the valley by the great turnpike, 
hotly pursued by Fremont, who could not, however, 
succeed in bringing him to haj. Shields, meanwhile, 
had moved up the south-eastern bank of the Shen- 
andoah, and, by co-operation with him, Fremont 
thought at last to crush the daring rebel. But by 
a master-stroke Jackson burned the bridge at the 
mouth of Elk Run Valley, over which Shields would 
have led his troops — for owing to heavy rains the 
Shenandoah was not fordable — and took up his posi- 
tion at Port Republic, a little village situated on the 
south fork of the river. Shields, therefore, advanced 
to Lewiston, the farm of a General Lewis, and there 
awaited instructions from Fremont, who was but a few 
miles off at Harrisonburg. But he might as well have 
been a thousand miles away, for between the two 
generals rolled the impassable Shenandoah, and the 
building of bridges in face of an enemy so vigilant 
and daring as Stonewall Jackson was a proposition 
that could not be seriously considered. Nevertheless, 
communication had been somehow effected, and it so 
happened that, on the very night that Ephraim and 
Lucius left Staunton in the balloon, the Federal 
generals had arranged a combined attack upon the 
restless Jackson for the next day. ^remont was to 
advance from Harrisonburg to Cross Keys and engage 
the Confederate left under Ewell, while at the same 
moment Shields, by a successful dash across the bridge 

G 



98 THE TRATLTNG TERRORS. 

at Port Republic, was to carry the little town and 
crumple up the rebel right. But Jackson's cool head 
and war-trained mind had foreseen this combination, 
and his own plans had been formed to keep Shields 
just where he was on the south-eastern bank of the 
river until Fremont had been disposed of. When 
therefore the boys took refuge in the loft, and the 
Federal officers turned their attention to their dese- 
crated breakfast, Fremont and Ewell were already 
confronting one another at Cross Keys, while Shields's 
cavalry were on their way to rush the bridge at 
Port Republic and clear the road for the passage of 
the infantry and artillery. For some time the officers 
devoted themselves exclusively to their breakfast, but 
at last General Shields broke the silence by observ- 
ino", ' I think we shall fix Jackson this bout.' 

' If the bridge at Port Republic can be carried,' 
agreed the brigadier cautiously. 

'If !' repeated Shields with some irritation. ' There 
is no if about it, sir. It must be carried. It cannot 
fail to be. The whole attention of the enemy will be 
by this time centred on their left to repulse Fremont's 
demonstration at Cross Keys. By ten o'clock my head- 
quarters will be at Port Republic' 

The brigadier did not answer, but he thought his 
own thoughts. He was not above learning a lesson, 
even from an enemy, and his experience of Stonewall 
Jackson as a leader and strategist led him to believe 
that this confident, even boastful tone was not justified 
in the face of recent happenings in the valley. How- 
ever, he was silent in the presence of his commanding 
officer. 

' Jackson will not expect an attack on the bridge/ 



THE TRAILING TERRORS. 99 

went on Shields, enclosing a slice of ham between two 
biscuits. ' He will know nothing of the movement 
until he finds himself driven out of Port Republic, and 
then it will be too late. — By the way,' he broke off, 
' that reconnaissance yesterday was shamefully mud- 
dled.' 

' It was,' agreed the brigadier ; ' and if you will 
excuse my saying so, I thought it rather an error of 
judgment to entrust it to Colonel Spriggs. You 
remember his appearance at Bull Run.' 

' His disappearance, you mean,' corrected General 
Shields with a grim smile. ' Well, perhaps it was ; 
but I couldn't well help myself.' 

' I am at a loss to know why we are bothered with 
such a fellow,' put in the third officer, a staff colonel. 

'Yes, heartily confound all these political generals 
and colonels,' said Shields. ' If those meddling carpet 
warriors would only mind their own business, and 
leave us to manage ours in the field, instead of inces- 
santly pulling the ropes, we should have another story 
to tell. This fellow Spriggs and others like him are 
pitched into colonelcies and even higher commands by 
their friends the politicians, while the real soldiers go 
begging for a place, or, rather than do nothing, serve 
their country unostentatiously in the ranks.' 

'He has good stuff in his regiment, too,' said the 
brigadier. ' The " Trailing Terrors," or whatever 
ridiculous name he calls them by, are stark fighters 
when they get a chance, or are properly led.' 

' Which they never will be, so long as Spriggs is in 
command of them,' answered Shields testily. ' I 've 
made the most urgent representations about the 
fellow, and no notice has been taken. I daren't relieve 



100 THE TRAILING TERRORS. 

him of his command on my own responsibility, though 
I am supposed to be at the head of this army.' He 
laughed rather bitterly. 

' Such a fellow is a disgrace to us all/ remarked the 
brigadier emphatically. ' A bully, a fire-eater, and 
a' 

'A dirty coward,' finished Shields for him. 'You 
may as well say it at once. I agree with you. He is 
a disgrace to us — he and a few more like him — a dis- 
credit to the whole North. The actions of the ruffianly 
crew of whom he is a most admirable example do more 
to inflame the South against us than anything else. 
Confound them!' he fumed; 'it is beyond their com- 
prehension that even war may be waged in a gentle- 
manly fashion.' 

' You 've got to start with a gentleman, though, you 
must remember,' laughed the brigadier. 

'I know,' said Shields discontentedly. 'Oh, hang 
him ! I wish I were well rid of him. He is reported 
missing since last night, and it may be that some 
obliging rebel has done what I have not the power to 
do — relieved him of his command by a timely and 
well-aimed bullet.' 

' Not while there was a tree between him and 
Johnny Reb,' chuckled the brigadier. ' I am af]-aid 
you must not look forward to any such easy solution 
of your difficulties with him.' 

' Pah ! ' ejaculated General Shields in deep disgust. 
'I' 

The sentence was never finished, for at that moment 
the door was flung open, and Orderly-sergeant Cox, 
advancing into the hut and saluting, announced : 

' Colonel Spriggs ! ' 



THE TRAILING TERRORS. 101 

Closely following on the orderly's heels came the 
subject of the above instructive conversation, and it 
was with something like a thrill of dismay that the 
watchers in the loft recognised in him the red-faced 
tyrant from whose clutches they had so recently 
escaped. Ephraim gave Luce's arm a warning squeeze, 
and if they had been quiet before, they lay doubly still 
now. 

General Shields returned the colonel's salute with 
exceeding stiffness and the scantiest courtesy. ' You 
were reported missing, sir,' he observed drily. ' I 
congratulate you on your reappearance after the 
fight.' At which the brigadier put up his hand to his 
mouth to conceal a smile. 

Colonel Spriggs, however, did not appear to perceive 
the sarcasm. ' Yes, general,' he replied, ' it was pretty 
warm work while it lasted. The Rebs got us in a 
tight place, and I fear that a considerable number 
of my poor lads have stayed behind on the field. 
But no matter, sir. The " Trailing Terrors," with Josiah 
B. Spriggs ahead, will go on till the last man is 
annihilated.' 

'I wish you might be annihilated to start with,' 
thought General Shields within himself. Aloud he 
said : ' Your reconnaissance was a complete failure, 
colonel.' 

' It was, sir,' acknowledged the colonel. ' I admit 
it. But it was not my fault. I made the most 
superhuman efforts to induce the men to advance in 
the face of the most withering musketry fire it has 
ever been my lot to stand up to. But they refused.' 

' I thought you said they would follow you any- 
where,' remarked General Shields caustically. 



102 THE TRAILING TERRORS, 

' Oh ! Ah ! yes, certainly ; so I did,' answered 
Spriggs, a little flustered. 'But the circumstances 
were exceptional. All that men could do they did. 
I myself ' 

' I see,' interrupted the general. ' How many men 
do you suppose you lost ?' 

' Company D was pretty well cut to pieces, and 
of the rest — but really at present I cannot give you 
accurate information. In leadino* a chare'e through 

O o o 

the woods I was struck by a spent ball, which yet 
had sufiicient force to stun me. My men passed over 
me as I lay, and when I came to myself I was alone. 
What came of that charge I caimot tell you; but, 
doubtless, the men, deprived of their leader, and con- 
vinced already of the desperate nature of the enter- 
prise, would naturally fall back.' 

' No doubt,' acquiesced General Shields ; ' and, no 
doubt also, your failure to rejoin your regiment com- 
pleted the disaster, while at the same time it gave 
rise to the report that you had been killed. — And 
may I be forgiven for devoutly wishing you had 
been,' he added mentally. 

' My failure to rejoin my regiment was due to the 
fact that I could not find it, sir,' answered the colonel 
with some heat, for thick-skinned as he was, he 
could not fail at last to detect the undertone of 
contempt in the general's voice. 'Am I to understand, 
sir, that you imply that I have in any way failed in 
my duty ?' 

' I imply nothing, colonel,' replied General Shields. 
' I may be permitted to say this, though, that I wish 
most earnestly that your "Trailing Terrors," as I 
understand you call your men, would now and again 



THE TRAILING TERRORS, 103 

trail in the direction of the enemy instead of so per- 
sistently keeping their backs turned to them.' 

' General/ began Spriggs^ but General Shields held 
up his hand. 

' And I am not to be taken as implying/ he went on, 
' that your men are any less courageous than others 
under my command. Bad soldiers, properly led, may 
win a battle. Good soldiers, improperly led, will very 
usually lose one.' 

At this stinging speech Colonel Spriggs's red, bloated 
face became purple. Here was an implication with 
a vengeance, and there was but one inference to be 
drawn from it. Moreover, Spriggs dared not attempt 
to reply, for he knew well enough that General 
Shields detested him, and only waited for the oppor- 
tunity of direct and irrefragable proof of his cowardice 
to make short work of him. Therefore he swallowed 
his wrath and merely mumbled something about having 
done his best. But he registered a vow in his heart 
that four and twenty hours should not pass without 
a letter from him to his friends the politicians, in 
which General Shield's name should figure with a 
very black mark indeed against it. 

' I do not doubt that you do your best, sir,' returned 
the general ; ' I do not doubt it at all.' 

The irony of the tone was sharp almost to fierce- 
ness, and Colonel Spriggs judged it wiser to give 
the conversation a rapid turn. It was with some- 
thing like humility that he remarked : 

'I have a report to make, general, concerning an 
incident that occurred as I was making my way back 
to the lines this morning.' 

' Proceed, sir,' said the general stiffly. 



104 THE TRAILING TERRORS. 

' I had fallen in with some of our fellows/ began 
the colonel, 'not my own men, and we were just 
casting about for some means to provide ourselves 
with some breakfast — which I may tell you we did 
not succeed in getting,' he added, casting a longing 
look at the table. 

'Help yourself, sir,' said General Shields with cold 
courtesy. Spriggs did not require any urging, but 
rapidly made an attack upon the remains of the 
feast, talking as he ate. 

' We had approached one edge of a clearing on the 
other side of these woods,' resumed Spriggs, ' when 
an exclamation from one of the men called my atten- 
tion to a singular, I may say, a phenomenal sight. It 
was nothing less than a balloon, descending into the 
clearing.' 

'A balloon !' echoed the three officers. 

'Yes, gentlemen, a balloon. It instantly became 
clear to me that this was a device of the enemy 
for the purpose of reconnoitring the position of the 
national forces, and I thanked my stars that I was 
on the spot with a handful of brave men to stop 
their treasonable devices.' 

The brigadier's hand again went up to his mouth, 
and General Shields inquired in a dry voice : ' Am 
I to understand, colonel, that what you saw was a 
species of air galley, filled with desperate rebels ?' 

' Ah ! no,' replied the colonel, considerably taken 
aback ; ' I told you it was a balloon. Its occupants 
were two in number.' 

'Two !' interjected General Shields. 'You and your 
brave handful would make short work of them, eh ?' 

'We did, sir,' answered Spriggs with a ferocious 



THE TRAILING TERRORS. 105 

grin. ' No sooner had they landed than I rushed 
up to them, and after a determined struggle, during 
which I was once thrown to the ground, succeeded in 
overpowering them.' 

At this extraordinary farrago of truth and lies, 
the two boys interchanged nudges. 

'The ruffians were armed to the teeth,' went on 
Spriggs, ' and in the balloon car we found a perfect 
armament. They had evidently meant mischief. I 
had them searched, and on the person of one of them 
were found plans of our positions, and papers loaded 
with accurate statistics of the number and disposition 
of our forces.' 

Ephraim's mouth pursed up as though he were 
about to whistle, so great was his amazement; and 
as the colonel paused to take a drink of coffee, General 
Shields said interrogatively : ' You doubtless have 
those papers with you now ?' 

' Ah ! no,' answered Spriggs in some confusion. ' I 
destroyed them at once, lest by any inadvertence they 
should fall into the hands of the enemy.' 

'You did wrong, sir,' said General Shields with 
asperity. ' Those papers should have been brought to 
camp and handed to the provost-marshal. Well, go on 
with your story.' 

' It is finished in a word,' resumed Spriggs. ' I 
regret to say that owing to the extreme carelessness 
of the men, the two prisoners took to their heels and 
escaped into the woods, while I was absorbed in the 
contents of the papers.' 

General Shields gave vent to an exclamation of 
impatience. This man tried him almost beyond his 
powers of endurance. 



106 THE TRAILING TERRORS. 

' Of course I sent the men in pursuit of the spies,' 
said the colonel, concluding his surprising statement. 
* They did not belong to my regiment, and they did 
not reappear ; so I finally made my way to the camp 
to report the circumstances to you.' 

General Shields thought for a moment. Then he 
said brusquely : ' Thank 5'ou. I do not think there is 
any more to be said. If you have finished your break- 
fast, you will oblige me by joining the remains of your 
command, which j^ou will find some two miles to the 
rear of Lewiston.' 

Spriggs rose and saluted. ' General,' he said, ' I do 
not like to admit myself beaten. The woods are full 
of our men, and it is well-nigh impossible that those 
two spies should have passed our pickets. With your 
permission I will take half a company and thoroughly 
beat the woods. As likely as not I shall run them 
down.' 

'Certainly, colonel, you have my full permission,' 
answered General Shields with great alacrity. ' You 
have probably heard,' he added, with curling lip, ' that 
an advance on Port Republic is just now in progress. 
But I will not allow a little thing like that to interfere 
with your laudable desire to volunteer for a dangerous 
service.' 

Colonel Spriggs bit his lip, and down went another 
black mark against General Shields. But his desire 
for revenge, and a chance to exhibit his petty tyranny, 
assisted him to accept the snub in silence, and he 
simply replied : ' I am obliged to you, sir. I will start 
as soon as possible.' 

'By the way, what did you do with the balloon?' 
inquired Shields. 



THE TRAILING TERRORS. 107 

' Left it where it was,' answered the colonel. ' I 
could not very well do otherwise.' 

'Hm!' said Shields. 'Well, I'll see about it later. 
Good-raorning, sir.' 

Spriggs saluted again, but at the door he turned. 
' I suppose, general,' he inquired, ' that if I come up 
with those two spies, you give me full discretionary 
powers V 

General Shields, who was already deep in thought, 
heard the question without grasping its significance, 
and muttered absently, ' Yes, oh yes, of course,' where- 
upon Spriggs immediately left the hut. 

Three or four minutes later, the general, coming out 
of his reverie, and having still the sound of the ques- 
tion in his ears, exclaimed suddenly : ' Discretionary 
powers ! What do you mean by that ?' 

' It is very evident,' answered the brigadier. ' And 
you have given him full permission to hang the two 
fellows out of hand.' 

' Confound the man !' muttered the general, walking 
quickly to the door. But Spriggs was already out of 
sight. ' Well,' he said, returning, ' it does not matter 
much, for after all they are spies, and it is a hundred 
to one that he never finds them.' 

To the two listeners in the loft it mattered a good 
deal, but unfortunately their position made protest 
out of the question. 

' The sight of that red-faced bully always sets my 
right foot tingling, so great is my desire to kick him,' 
went on the general, irritably. 

' His incompetence is on a par with his cowardice. 
Imagine now his allowing those two men to escape.' 

' His anxiety to retake them was very genuine,' said 



108 THE TRAILING TERRORS. 

the brigadier. ' It seems to me/ he commented shrewdly, 
'that there is a personal motive underlying his zeal, 
though what, or why, it is difficult to say. — What are 
you staring at, general?' he broke off. 'Why, good 
gracious !' 

Alas and alas ! From the loft was proceeding a 
most singular shower. Plop ! Plop ! Plop ! Plop ! 
one after another in regular succession, a cascade of 
biscuits descended from the planking to the floor, each 
as it fell shivering into frajjments after the fashion of 
the renowned Humpty Dumpty. No wonder that the 
general stared. 

' Ha ! ha ! ha ! ho ! ho ! ho !' roared the jovial briga- 
dier. ' I never thought of that. That is where your 
breakfast vanished to, general. And where the crackers 
are, there also is the ham, I '11 bet a trifle.' 

'Come out of that, whoever you are!' ordered the 
general sternly. ' Come out of that at once.' 

This denouement was due to the unfortunate Lucius, 
who, in wriggling into a more comfortable position, 
had burst open the front of his tunic, in which a 
quantity of biscuits had been bestowed. As the first 
of these touched the floor, Ephraim grasped his comrade 
by the back of the neck and pinned him down as in a 
vice. Then as the general's loud command rang out, 
he put his mouth close to Luce's ear, and just breathed 
into it : ' Lie low. Luce, lie low. I see a way out er 
this muss. Don't move now for the life of ye, whatever 
ye see me do.' 

' Come out of that, I say,' repeated the general. 
' Do you want me to come and fetch you ?' 

This being the very last thing that Ephraim desired, 
he slowly uncoiled his long length, and swinging upon 



THE TRAILING TERRORS. 109 

the rafter, dropped to the floor, where he stood the 
very picture of sheepishness, his mouth wide open, 
and a most comical expression — half-humorous, half- 
terrified appeal in his big gray eyes. But he took 
care to leave the piece of ham behind him. 

The fat brigadier retreated to the wall of the hut, 
and laughed till the tears ran down his cheeks. 

' Well, if this doesn't beat everything I ever saw or 
heard of!' he gasped. 'What will you do with him, 
general ? Shall I take him to the provost-marshal for 
a round dozen, or will you have him shot right away ? 
For my part, I think he deserves the rest of the break- 
fast for his impudence.' 

'Silence !' said the general severely, though his eyes 
twinkled. — ' What were you doing there V he demanded 
of Ephraim. 

The Grizzly drew himself up and saluted. ' I 
beg yewr parding, ginrul,' he answered in a weak, 
whining tone ; ' I war jest parsing the wind}', and 
when I looked in and see that right down, first- 
clarse spread, I tell yew I jest felt I had ter hev 
some.' 

Lucius quivered with amazement. The Grizzly 
was coming out in a new line. The soft Southern 
voice with its clipped syllables was gone, and in 
its place was the slow drawl and marked nasal 
twang of the New Englander. The very expression 
of the face was chano-ed, though this Lucius could 
not see. The natural shrewdness was gone out of it, 
and only good-humoured, dull vacancy reigned in its 
stead. 

' Upon my word, you are a nice young man,' said 
the general, smiling in spite of himself at Ephraim's 



110 THE TRAILING TERRORS. 

ridiculous appearance. ' What do you mean, sir, by 
making free with my breakfast ? Don't you know 
I could have you court-martialed and shot for 
this?' 

' Oh lordy, lordy ! don't you do that, ginrul,' whined 
Ephraim, seemingly in a paroxysm of terror. ' I '11 
never dew it again. Yew don't know how hungry I 
war. Lemme off, ginrul! Lemme off!' He clasped 
his hands supplicatingly. 

The brigadier exploded again, and Shields, with a 
good-natured laugh, said : ' Well, we '11 consider what 
is to be done with you. Who are you, and to what 
regiment do you belong ?' 

' Number twenty, Company D,the "Trailing Terrors,'" 
drawled Ephraim. 

' What ! You are one of Spriggs's "Trailing Terrors," 
are you ? By Jove ! you look it. Why did you not 
come out just now w^hen your commanding officer was 
here?' 

' Bekase he war telling lies ! ' boldly answered 
Ephraim to the supreme astonishment of Lucius ; ' and 
I never could abide lies.' 

'Lies!' echoed General Shields. 'What do you 
mean, sir ? Are you aware that you are speaking of 
your superior officer ?' 

' I know that, ginrul,' replied Ephraim, adding with 
a subdued grin : ' I ain't saying nuthing worse about 
him than I 've heard this morning. All the same, he 
war telling lies about that balloon. I war thar, so I 
guess I should know.' 

'You were there!' repeated General Shields. 'I 
understood the colonel to say that none of his men 
were on hand.' 




' Upon my word, you are a nice young man,' said the general. 



THE TRAILING TERRORS. 113 

'Waal, I war thar, whether he saw me or not,' 
insisted Ephraim. 

'Well, what happened?' asked the general, inter- 
ested. 

' Part of what he said, a good deal he didn't say, and 
a heap less than he did say,' returned Ephraim oracu- 
larly. ' The balloon came down right enufF, and thar 
war two folk in it. They got out and were surrounded 
instanter. They never raised a finger tew resist. 
How could they when there war ba'nets agin their 
chests, and they war nuthing but a couple of boys.' 

' Boys !' exclaimed the general in a tone of incredu- 
lity. 'What could boys be doing sailing about in a 
balloon?' 

'I guess that's their business,' answered Ephraim. 
* Anyhow, thar they war, and what they said and what 
they stuck tew war that they had made a balloon, and 
jest came out fer a bit of a spree.' 

'But the arms and the plans?' interrogated the 
general. 

' Waal, I allow they had a leetle gun and a pepper- 
box ; but who wouldn't these days ?' said Ephraim. 
' And as tew the plans, they warn't nuthing but a road 
map of the valley and a small bit of paper with the 
news of the war so far as it 's got. I saw that, so I 
know.' 

' But what about the struggle ?' put in the brigadier. 

'I'm coming tew that. Ye see, the kernel he ques- 
tioned the two boys, he did. One of them war about 
nineteen and the other sixteen, I should say, or thar- 
abouts. Fact is, they told him so ; but he could git 
nuthing out of 'em but that they war jest out fer a 
spree. The leetle one up and told him straight, says 

H 



114 THE TRATLTNG TERRORS. 

he : • " Southern gentlemen don't lie." That 's what he 
said,' 

The officers all smiled. ' Well ?' said the general as 
Ephraim paused. 

' Waal, sir, he wouldn't begin tew believe 'em, and 
because he couldn't find out nuthing agin 'em, he says : 
" Cut a couple of ropes from that balloon and string 
these cubs up tew the nighest tree." That 's what he 
said.' 

'What!' vociferated the general. 'Do you mean to 
tell me he gave orders for them to be hanged ? ' 

' Jest that,' nodded Ephraim ; ' and they war nuthing 
but boys, I let yew know. Waal, the men didn't like 
the job, and thar war some hanging back instead of 
hanging up ; and the kernel he got madder than ever, 
and when the older boy up and arsked him ter let 'em 
orf, he up and kicked him.' 

' The brute !' interjected the general, and Ephraim 
went on : 

'With that the leetler boy got mad, and he runs up 
tew the kernel and ketches him one, two, right in the 
face, and before he could turn, the other boy grabbed 
him round the legs and laid him on his back ; and 
before yew could say " Abe Lincoln," the two of 'em war 
off tew the woods.' 

'Bravo!' exclaimed the brisjadier. 'I am o-lad of it. 
Were they followed ?' 

' They war,' replied Ephraim ; ' but I guess the men 
didn't want tew ketch them, for they got clean off!' 

' That is a very different story,' commented General 
Shields, when Ephraim had brought his narrative to a 
close. 'Still, there are some things to be explained. 
The presence of the balloon is itself suspicious, and it 



THE TRAILING TERRORS. 115 

is incredible that they should have made it them- 
selves.' 

' That 's what they said, anyhow,' remarked Ephraim. 

' Quite so ; I understand that,' said the general. ' I 
suppose,' he added after a pause, ' you would have no 
objection to repeat your story if brought face to face 
with Colonel Spriggs ? ' 

' Nary a objection,' replied Ephraim with alacrity ; 
* if ye fetch him back, I '11 say it all over agen.' For, 
seeing the general's mood, and having heard his avowed 
detestation of Spriggs, he began to wish that he had 
thrown himself upon the former's generosity to start 
with. However, he thought within himself that 
there would be no difficulty about that when the time 
came. 

General Shields scribbled a few lines in his pocket- 
book and tore out the leaf : ' Colonel Spriggs, if you 
come up with the two men who escaped from the 
balloon this morning,' he read out to his officers, ' you 
will detain them as prisoners and bring them before 
me, without taking further action.' 

' I '11 send that on to him in the first instance,' he 
said, signing the paper. — 'Orderly!' But there was 
no answer. Cox had, for the time being, disappeared. 

' Confound the fellow ! ' said the general. ' Wliat does 
he mean by going out of call ? — No matter,' he con- 
tinued to Ephraim, ' you can take the note yourself. 
Your regiment — what is left of it — is a couple of miles 
in rear of Lewiston. It will not be in action to-day. 
— Well, why don't jou go ?' as Ephraim took the note, 
but made no effort to depart. 

' Ef ye please, ginrul,' replied the Grizzly with his 
most sheepish air, ' I 'd be obleeged tew ye, if ye 'd let 



116 THE TRATLTNCx TERRORS. 

me take the ham. I guess you won't want it now, 
and I left it up thar.' He pointed to the roof. 

General Shields burst out laughing. ' Well, you are 
a " Terror," indeed,' he said. ' Take your ham, by all 
means. I don't want it, as you say.' 

Ephraim instantly swung himself up on the rafter, 
and while making a great clattering among the planks, 
as though looking for his ham, contrived to whisper : 
* Lie low, Luce. I '11 come back fer ye, wanst they go 
away. We 're close ter our own lines.' Then he 
dropped down again, and with his precious burden 
hugged close to his breast, saluted awkwardly and 
turned to the door. 

' Stay !' cried the general. ' Before you go, perhaps 
you can give me your version of yesterday's skirmish, 
in which the "Trailing Terrors" were so knocked 
about.' 

' Waal, I didn't see much of it,' drawled Ephraim 
with perfect truth. ' Ye onderstand ' 

What he would have said was interrupted by a loud 
clatter of hoofs outside. A horse was pulled up short, 
and a courier, hot and perspiring, rushed into the 
hut. 

' General !' he panted. ' The advance has begun. 
The cavalry are forward, as well as the two batteries. 
The cavalry have reached the fords without serious 
opposition.' 

'Orderly !' .shouted General Shields, scribbling again 
in his pocket-book. 

' Sir,' answered Cox, stepping inside. 

' Send that note to General Tyler. — My horse 
outside ?* 

' Yes, sir.' 



THE TRAILING TERRORS. 



117 



' Good ! Come, gentlemen. If all goes well, we shall 
sup with Fremont to-night. If not, we have a strong 
position at Lewiston, and there we will await the 
attack which is sure to be made to-morrow, if we fail 
in our plans to-day. Come !' 

Without another word to or thought of Ephraim, he 
dashed out of the hut. 









O"^" 6511 






■^(S:l^■ 



CHAPTER VIII. 



^/ 



A PAIR OF RELUCTANT RECRUITS. 




^c^ PHRAIM followed the officers to the door of 
the hut and looked out. For five minutes he 
maintained this position without moving or 
speaking ; then he turned inwards again, and 
with his usual quiet grin on his face, hailed : ' Ye kin 
git down now, Luce. I reckon the coast is cl'ar.' 

Lucius swung down to the floor and burst out laiifjh- 
ing. 'How well you managed that, Grizzly!' he said. 
' Do you know, at one time I thought that you were 
going to make a clean breast of it, and tell the genera] 
that we had been in the balloon.' 

' I 'low I had some thorts er it,' answered Ephraim ; 
* fer he seemed dead sot agin the cunnel himself ; but 
ye never know what '11 happen. After all, they war 
all Yanks in hyar, and tliough the ginrul seemed 
inclined ter be perfeckly fair and squar 'bout them 
two escaped balloonists, ye carn't tell how his com- 
plexshun might hev changed ef wanst he knew he 'd 
got his claws onter 'em.' 

' That 's so,' agreed Lucius. ' It was best to be on 
the safe side. And you told him the simple truth.' 



A PAIR OF RELUCTANT RECRUITS. 119 

' 'Ceptiu' 'bout the " Trailin' Terrors," ' chuckled 
Ephraim. ' Ye see thet came inter my hed and sorter 
slipped out before I could stop it. I 'low I war 
rather sot back when he purposed ter put me up 
aoin the cunnel ; and e£ it hed come ter thet, I 'd 
hev owned up at once. But it's jest ez well,' he 
went on, ' f er ef the ginrul hed known who we war, 
he'd hev been bound ter rope us in fer a while, till 
he 'd got the rights er the story, and thar 's no tellin' 
when we 'd hev got home.' 

' We 're not there yet/ said Lucius dubiously. 

* I know thet, sonny ; but we 're on the way ; fer 
now we know whar we air, and we won't be long in 
gettin' out er this, I tell ye.' 

'Where are we?' asked Lucius. 'Somewhere about 
Port Republic, I gathered from what was said.' 

' Right, bub. We 're on'y 'bout three miles from 
thar, and that's whar old Stonewall is, holdin' the 
bridge. But the road and the woods between this 
and thar is choke-full er Yanks ; so, ez ye rightly 
remark, we ain't thar yit. On our right is the 
Shenandoah, ez full er water ez an egg is er meat, 
and on our left is the Blue Ridge, so we carn't do 
nuthin' but go straight on.' 

' We can't go by the turnpike either,' said Lucius, 
' for I fancy there would be a pretty to do if two 
Federal soldiers were cauirht walkinsf in the direction 
of the enemy.' 

' Thet 's so,' returned Ephraim. ' We must keep 
ter the woods and make the best of it. It won't 
do ter git lost in 'em agen, though, and come wanderin' 
back upon Lewiston. We must hold close by this 
edae.' 



120 A PAIR OF RELUCTANT RECRUITS. 

'Where is Lewiston?' inquired Lucius. 'It's a 
name I don't know.' 

' I reckon it 's thet fine big house way back thar, 
what we saw when we fust came out er the woods, 
or nearly — whar the Yankee cannon wuz planted. 
And I tell ye what it is. Ef old Stonewall whips 
Fremont to-day — and I reckon he will — thar's goin' 
ter be the biggest kick-up thar ter-morrer you ever 
heard on. Shields expects it, that 's cl'ar ; fer didn't 
ye hear him say he 'd wait the attack thar ? ' 

' I did,' answered Lucius ; ' but if the bridge is 
carried, it may make a difference.' 

'Shucks!' exclaimed Ephraira with contempt. 'I 
reckon ef the Yanks hes actually got across, the}^ '11 
be glad enough to git back agin. Why, old Stone- 
wall, he 's thar himself.' 

Such was the confidence that this general inspired 
that it never occurred to Ephraim or to any one 
else in the valley to doubt that where Jackson 
was, there also would the victory be. 

' Well, then, what do you propose to do ?' asked 
Lucius. 

' Waal,' replied Ephraim, ' ez they war so onmannerly 
ez to plump in upon us before we could git well started 
with our breakfast, and ez we hev the whole day ter 
git thar, I p'intedly advise thet we fortify our stum- 
micks fust thing we do.' 

'Right!' cried Lucius. ' I 'm with you there.' And 
with much laughter the two boys fell to work upon 
the provisions, and made a hearty meal. 

'I feel better now,' said the Grizzly, wiping his 
mouth a few minutes later. 'Come along and let us 
take a squint at what 's goin' on outside.' 



A PAIR OF RELUCTANT RECRUITS. 121 

They peeped, the one through the window, and the 
other through the door, and no one being in sight, 
issued from the latter into the open. 

' This hyar is mighty pleasant,' remarked Ephraim, 
like the epicure, serenely full, and enjoying the warm 
June sunshine; 'but I s'pose we'd better make fer 
the woods in case any wan comes along.' 

' I think so,' agreed Lucius. ' There 's no use run- 
ning unnecessary risks. — Quick, Grizzly, quick ! Here 
come some soldiers.' 

'Run, Luce, fer all ye 're wuth !' cried Ephraim, 
setting the example. ' Maybe we 've not been seen.' 

It was a foolish proceeding, for they had been seen 
before they took flight, and had they remained per- 
fectly still, they would have had a better chance of 
escaping unfavourable observation. As it was, their 
hasty action condemned them. Around the short arm 
of the wood, described above, swept a column of 
infantry, and as soon as the officer in command saw, 
as he supposed, two Federal soldiers in full flight, 
he very naturally roared out ' Halt !' at the top of 
his voice. Ephraim and Lucius, however, paid no 
attention to this courteous invitation, but continued 
their race towards the friendly shelter at top speed. 

But they were soon brought up standing. ' If you 
don't stop,' shouted the officer, ' I '11 fire on you. 
Halt!' And thus adjured, the fugitives unwillingly 
checked their flight and stood still. 

' Never mind. Luce,' muttered Ephraim ; ' we kin 
bluff 'em, I reckon.' 

' Why didn't you stop when I ordered you ?' demanded 
the officer roughly as he came up. 

The boys were silent. To give the true reason 



122 A PAIR OF RELUCTANT RECRUITS. 

was not at all to their taste, and no other seemed 
just then to fit the circumstances. However, the 
officer went on without waiting for a reply to his 
first question : 

' Where were you running to ?' 

' Makin' fer our lines, major/ replied Ephraim, 
recognising the officer's rank. 

'So. What is your regiment V 

' The " Trailing Terrors." ' 

The major laughed. 'As usual,' he said, ' with their 
backs the wrong way. Fall in here, both of you.' 

'Oh, I say, major,' whined Ephraim, ' our regiment's 
three miles back of Lewiston.' 

'Is it?' answered the major. 'I know. Well, 
I '11 start you three miles in front of Lewiston, and 
show you a little fighting for a change.' 

' General Shields told us the " Terrors " warn't ter 
be in action ter-day,' protested Ephraim, still hanging 
back. 

' Rubbish ! None of your cock-and-bull stories for 
me. Fall in ! ' 

' But my comrade 's wounded,' declared Ephraim 
desperately. ' How kin he fight ?' 

The major was a good-humoured man, but he began 
to lose patience. ' What do you mean, sir, by arguing 
with me?' he cried, striking Ephraim with the flat 
of his sword. ' Do you suppose I don't know a 
couple of confounded skulkers when I see them ? 
There's nothing wrong with your comrade's legs, I 
should say. I 'm not going to stand here all day. 
Fall in!' 

'But we han't got no guns,' whimpered Ephraim 
as a last resource. 



A PAIR OF RELUCTANT RECRUITS. 123 

'Fall in!' roared the major. — 'Sergeant Piei'ce, 
draft these two cowardly skulkers into the middle 
of the column, so that they can't run away ; and 
keep your eye on them during the action. If they 
try to bolt, cut them down. — Column, forward !' 

The sergeant thrust Ephraim and Lucius into the 
ranks, and the column moved forward at the double 
to atone for the short delay. 

To exchange ideas on this unpleasant development 
was impossible ; but Ephraim glanced at Lucius as 
they trotted along, as much as to say : ' We are in 
for it this time, and, for the life of me, I don't see 
how we are going to get out of it.' The column 
was marching two deep, and the sergeant kept abreast 
the file formed by the two boys. Presently, as the 
men fell by order into the quick step once more, 
Ephraim addressed the grizzled warrior in plaintive 
accents. 

' See hyar, sergeant,' he said ; ' it ain't thet we don't 
want ter fight. We feel powerful like fightin' ef 
we git the chance ; but how air we goin' ter do it 
'tliout nary a gun or a ba'net ?' 

' You '11 git 'em before long,' answered the sergeant. 
♦ You bet.' 

' Whar air we gwine ter V next inquired Ephraim. 

' Oh, shet yer head,' retorted the sergeant. ' You '11 
know when ye git thar. Yew two " Trailing Terrors" 
is going ter hev one day's gunning this time, I tell 
yew.' 

Ephraim glanced again at Lucius. The boy's head 
was erect, and his face w^as flushed ; but though his 
eyes glittered with excitement, he met his comrade's 
look boldly and confidently as he marched along 



124 A PAIR OF RELUCTANT RECRUITS. 

with easy swinging step. He certainly had not the 
appearance of one who was afraid. 

Grizzly heaved a breath of relief. Despite his 
loyalty, his thoughts would recur to that scene in 
the balloon ; but now, though full of fears for his 
friend's safety, the old pride in him revived in full 
force, and he knew that, whatever desperate move 
their dangerous position might necessitate, he would 
be able to count upon Luce's cool and hearty co-opera- 
tion. His feelings insisted upon expression, and slily 
grasping Luce's arm, he gave it a fervent squeeze. 
In return, the boy smiled up at him. 

' I dunno what 's goin' ter happen,' thought Grizzly ; 
' but I 'low it '11 be funny ef they kin persuade Luce 
and me ter shoot our own friends. By time ! Luce 
war sot on seein' a battle, and I reckon he 's goin' 
ter hev his way this time, same ez always. On'y, 
things lies got twisted upside down most outrageous. 
And it 's all along er me, too.' A sharp pang of 
generous self-reproach shot through him ; but the 
current of his reflections was rudely turned aside 
by the loud, abrupt command : 

' Column, halt !' 

The blue ranks stood fast, awaiting the next order. 

It rang out, followed by others in rapid succession. 
' Form line on the leading company ! Kemaining 
companies four paces on the right backwards — wheel ! 
Quick march ! Number one, eyes right — dress ! Eyes 
front ! Number two, halt — dress ! Eyes front ! 
Form line ! Quick march ! Number one, number two, 
number four, right — wheel ! Halt — dress up ! Eyes 
front! Steady!' And so the column moved into 
line. 



A PAIR OF RELUCTANT RECRUITS. 125 

Lucius was the front man of his file, Ephraim the 
rear, and when the rush and hurry of the movement 
were past, and they had opportunity for observation, 
their eyes rested upon a strange and unfamiliar 
scene. 

They had reached Port Republic, the streets of 
which were swarming with Federal cavalry, the 
advance of Shields's army, who had dashed into the 
village by the fords of the South Fork ; while a 
couple of field-pieces rumbled along to take up an 
advantageous position. Right in front, over the 
rolling Shenandoah ran the long wooden bridge, so 
much coveted by the Federal commander as the 
key to Jackson's position, and one of the field-pieces 
had nearly reached the end which abutted on the 
village. On the heights upon the opposite side of 
the river could be seen Confederate horsemen and 
the pickets who had been driven in, fleeing for their 
lives upon their supports. From the other end of 
the village came the crackling rattle of musketry, 
telling that a stand of some sort was being made, 
though what or where they could not see. Only, 
overhead the bullets sang with angry, venomous wheep ! 
And Lucius, unaccustomed to the fearsome sound, felt 
his head duck of its own accord, so close did the 
fatal singing seem to his ear. 

The boys' hearts sank within them. To their 
inexperienced eyes it looked as if old Stonewall must 
be caught at last. The terrible field-piece had reached 
the head of the bridge, unlimbered, and now com- 
manded the narrow way. And other approach there 
was none. The second cannon, planted below them 
in the village, already roared its angry defiance and 



126 A PAIR OF RELUCTANT RRORUITS. 

hurled its iron messengers of death upon the wooded 
heights, where the enemy was supposed to be. 

Flash ! A bright streak of light far up on the 
heights. A curling wreath of smoke. Then boom ! 
A shell hurtled through the air, shrieked for an 
instant like a fury in their ears, then bang ! crash ! 
it exploded in front of the line, hurling frightful 
jagged fragments right, left, front, rear — in all direc- 
tions. 

An involuntary moan burst from Lucius. The 
file next him and Ephraim on their right had gone 
down, and the two men who had composed it lay a 
blood-stained heap upon the ground, all semblance of 
humanity gone, and only a few twitchings of the 
shattered limbs to tell that the wretched atom of 
life left in them was hastening fast away. 

' Hold up. Luce !' whispered Ephraim, all his thoughts 
upon his friend, though he felt sick with the horror 
of the ghastlj^ sight. 

Lucius nodded to the heights in front of him. He 
could not turn round. His tongue had slipped forward 
between his teeth, and he bit it till the blood flowed 
into his mouth. A vague wonder possessed him as 
to where the salt taste came from — came and passed 
through his brain like lightning. Then his head went 
up again and he stood still — so still that he excited 
the admiration of his left-hand man, who muttered, 
'Ye stood that well!' Whereas, as a matter of fact, 
Lucius was simply stiffened into immobility. Then 
something seemed to give way in his brain. The 
swift thought crossed him, 'It's soon over, anyway ;' 
the tension of his limbs relaxed, and all fear fled. He 
had received his baptism of fire, and his heart grew 



A PAIR OF RELUCTANT RECRUITS. 127 

strong within him. Another pufF of smoke from the 
battery on the heights. Another screaming shell. 
And Lucius found himself idly wondering where it 
would fall, and careless where it fell. 

' How odd,' he thought within himself, ' that I should 
feel so cool now in this unknown, terrible situation, 

while in the balloon ' Fatal recollection ! The 

dreadful memory fell upon him like a bolt, and his 
knees shook under him so violently that he nearly 
fell to the ground. 

His neighbour looked curiously at him, unprepared 
for the sudden change, while from Ephraim came 
again the warning whisper, ' Hold up, Luce ! ' 

Recovering himself, Lucius turned and laughed in 
Ephraim's face. 'I was thinking of Blue Bag just 
then,' he muttered. 

Utterly taken aback by this singular statement, 
Ephraim weakly ejaculated, 'Oh !' and finding nothing 
more to say, relapsed into silence. 

Sergeant Pierce stepped through the broken file 
to the front, and stooping down, picked up the rifles 
from the road and removed the belts with their 
ammunition pouches from the two dead men. 

'Hyar, yew two "Terrors,"' he said, 'ketch hold on 
these. Yew can't say yew haven't got anything to 
fiofht with now. I thouo;ht it wouldn't be long before 
yew war provided.' Lucius received the rifle and 
belt with a little giggle which he could not entirely 
suppress. He was feeling strangely light and cheer- 
ful. Tragedy was turning to comedy. He was wear- 
ing the clothes of one dead man ; why should he not 
receive the arms of another ? He longed to speak, 
to say something — anj^thing. He had the greatest 



128 A PAIR OF RELUCTANT RECRUITS. 

difficulty in repressing a hilarious shout of ' Hi ! 
Grizzlj^, isn't it a joke — two young Rebs asked to 
shoot their own men?' His feelings found vent at 
last in the admonitory remark to Pierce, 'Mind you 
keep your eye on us, sergeant.' 

The air was full of flying missiles, but Lucius no 
longer ducked his head. He seemed not to hear them. 
The sergeant looked down at him from his superior 
height and grinned. 'I guess we misjudged yew,' 

he said. ' Yew 're ' He stopped suddenly. The 

pupils of his e3'es, still fixed upon Lucius, dilated ; 
the upper lip, drawn up by the action of the genial 
smile, drooped down upon the lower in a pout. For 
an instant his sturdy frame kept its position, martial 
and erect to the last, and then without a word or 
a groan he fell dead, shot through the heart. 

Lucius looked at him and did not blench, but his 
neighbour growled discontentedly, ' This air gitting 
too hot, I guess. Ain't we never tew git the word 
to fire?' Then that man, too, fell suddenly dead. It 
was, as he had said, getting remarkably hot. All at 
once on the crest of the heights three more batteries 
appeared, the black-muzzled cannon grinning down 
upon the village. But the guns were silent, though 
the cannoneers stood beside them, ready to teach 
them their one deadly monosyllable. They were 
waitino; for somethinof. What was it ? Ah ! here it 
comes. 

Down the hill, marching by the flank in a strong, 
steady gray line, came a regiment, and as they caught 
sight of the bridge, the supreme point of advantage, 
the men, carried away by enthusiasm, roared out the 
Rebel yell, and rushed towards it at double quick. 



A PAIR OF RELUCTANT RECRUITS. 129 

Alongside them, directing every movement, rode their 
general, erect upon his horse, calm and serene as 
though his troops vs^ere passing him in review order. 
To be led by him ! To go in under the eye of Stone- 
wall Jackson ! Ah ! there was not a man there but 
would have died where he was rather than face about 
and flee. There was not a regiment upon the hill 
that did not envy the 37th Virginia, marching to 
take the bridge. 

Ephraim bent forward and grasped Lucius by the 
arm. ' By time ! Luce,' he hissed into his comrade's 
ear, ' it 's old Stonewall himself ! Lie low, fer goodness' 
sake.' For he feared lest a shout of joy from Luce 
should betray them to the Federals for what they 
were. 

On came the 37th, and now all dowm the long 
Federal line ran the one word 'Ready!' and the 
gunners at the bridge sprang to the gun. 

Then Jackson was seen to stop, and from his lips 
rang out a sharp, stern word of command. The boys 
could not hear what he said, but they watched his 
every movement with blazing eyes. Standing in his 
stirrups, Stonewall waved his sword towards the bridge, 
and cried in ringing tones : ' Fire one round upon 
those people at the bridge. Then charge and give 
them the bayonet ! Fire !' 

He dropped the reins upon his horse's neck, and 
all the light of battle dying out of his face, raised his 
hands and eyes to heaven in mute supplication. 

Down the hill swept the 37th, and without pausing 
to wheel into line, fired one volley and charged. Before 
that withering fire the gunners melted away from the 
gun like snow in the sun, and with a yell that set 



130 A PAIR OF RELUCTANT RECRUITS. 

the old hills ringing, the Virginians rushed across 
the bridge. 

' Fire !' roared the Federal commander, and one thin 
sputtering volley rattled from the ranks where Luce 
and Ephraim stood. But ere the}^ could reload, from 
every cannon on the height burst forth an iron hail, 
from the streets in rear of them came crashing deadly 
volleys, from the bridge in front of them the Virginians 
poured upwards, mad, vengeful, resistless. That flash- 
ing line of steel, that terrible ear-piercing yell — they 
were more than mortal man could stand. The gun 
by the bridge was taken, the gun in the streets was 
deserted. It was hopeless to wait, for their supports 
had not come up. Panic seized the Federal infantry, 
and as the cold steel gleamed in their eyes, they broke 
and fled. 





=^^ 



CHAPTER IX. 



Hi 



HOW GENERAL SHIELDS SENT A DESPATCH TO 
GENERAL FREMONT. 

^iJj/^^HEN the stampede before the onrush of the 
ffi Virginians occurred, Ephraim and Lucius 
would have been heartily glad to holt in 
the opposite direction — namely, towards 
their friends ; but two circumstances precluded the 
possibility of such a course. The one, that without 
any consultation on the subject, they both recog- 
nised the danger they ran of being shot down 
or bayoneted by the men of the 37th, if they ven- 
tured to run towards them, dressed as they were in 
Federal uniforms. For in the fury of that charge 
but little opportunity was likely to arise for either 
offering or receiving explanations. Another and even 
more potent reason was that, however their inclina- 
tions might have prompted them to such a step, it 
was absolutely impossible for them to carry it out, 
for the rush of the Federal troops behind them swejDt 
them forward with such an irresistible impulse that 
they had no choice but to take to their heels in the 
direction of Lewiston. And this they did with a 



132 HOW GENERAL SHIELDS SENT A DESPATCH. 

hearty good-will which the roar of cannon and rattle 
of musketry behind them kept very fully alive. 

The retreat was not conducted in what is called 
good order. It was a regular sauve qui peut, and it 
was not until the fugitives ran into the fresh troops 
coming up to their support that a stand was made 
and something like a rally effected. But even these 
were of no avail, and the advance was promptly 
checked by the well-directed shot from the Confederate 
batteries, which were now all in position upon the 
opposite heights across the river ; and the support- 
ing columns, shattered by the murderous discharge, 
wavered, recoiled, broke, and in their turn bolted 
back to the shelter of the woods near Lewiston. As 
they fled, the Confederates limbered up and pursued 
them, keeping, of course, to the north side of the 
river, till at last the discomfiture of the Federals was 
complete ; and Shields, recognising the futility of any 
further attempt upon a position so well defended, 
and which he could only attack at such absolute 
disadvantage to himself, was compelled to remain 
quiet all day, actually within sound of the cannonade 
which told of the struggle in which Fremont was 
engaged alone at Cross Keys. 

When the second repulse and consequent flight took 
place, Ephraim and Lucius followed the example of 
most of their comrades by compulsion, and sought the 
shelter of the woods, where they were at least safer 
from the cannonade than in the open. Looking up 
the valley from Lewiston towards Port Kepublic, a 
bird's-eye view would have revealed three marked 
topographical features, roughly speaking, parallel to 
one another. On the right was the Shenandoah Kiver ; 



HOW GENERAL SHIELDS SENT A DESPATCH. 133 

next to this, and to the left of it, open country and 
cultivated fields ; and farther still to the left, the dense 
forest, three miles wide, which extended to the base of 
the Blue Ridge. When forced to descend in the 
balloon, the boys had entered the wood on the side 
next the mountain, and their flight from the colonel 
and subsequent wanderings had carried them clear 
across it to the side facing the river, where they had 
fallen in with the little hut in the clearing, which was 
really a woodsman's cabin on the Lewiston estate. 
They were now, therefore, still on the same side as 
the hut, but a mile or so above it. 

'I tell ye what it is. Luce,' said Ephraim in his 
companion's ear, as they hurried along, ' we air goin' 
too fast. We '11 be in the Yankee camp at this rate 
before many minnits is over. Let 's hang back a bit.' 

They did so, gradually slackening their pace, and 
allowing the stream of fugitives to roll past them, till 
at last being, so far as they could see, alone, they sat 
down under a tree to take breath. 

For a moment they looked at one another in silence. 
Then Ephraim said with a good deal of emotion in his 
voice : ' I am the most or'nery fool in a town whar 
there 's a good few er the sort. I thort ter let ye hev 
a piece er funnin', and now I 've nearly been the death 
er ye twice, and gracious knows what '11 happen yit 
before we git through with this one-horse adventure.' 

'I don't call it a one-horse adventure,' replied Lucius. 
' A whole team would be more like it. I imagine this 
is what you might call a pretty crowded day. Eh, 
Grizzly ? ' 

' Waal, I 'low it is so fur,' admitted Ephraim with 
the ghost of a smile. ' Same time, I dunno what I 'd 



134 HOW GENERAL SHIELDS SENT A DESPATCH. 

hev done ter myself ef ennythin' had gone wrong with 
ye in thet rumpus jest now. I 'd never hev got over 
it or fergiv myself. By time ! ter see them two pore 
men go down like thet alongside us all in a moment. 
It might jest ez well hev been you.' He blew his nose 
loudly, and furtively knuckled his eyes. 

' But it wasn't, you see,' returned Lucius cheerfully. 
'A miss is as good as a mile, Grizzly. And I wish 
you wouldn't blame yourself, for I came with you of 
my own free will.' 

' Ye didn't bargain fer all this, though,' said Ephraim 
mournfully. ' Ye didn't 'magine ye were ter be stuck 
up ez a target fer our own boys. — By gracious!' he 
added with animation, forgetting his troubles in the 
glorious recollection, ' didn't they give the Yanks 
howdy in fine style ? See 'em comin' across thet bridge ! 
Didn't they jest nat'ally tear along ?' 

'They did,' answered Lucius with glistening eyes. 
' It was splendid. — So we 've seen a battle after all,' he 
went on, with a low laugh of satisfaction. 

'Ah!' replied Ephraim, 'And ye warn't sittin' on 
the ring fence nuther.' 

'No,' chuckled Lucius, 'and thet bull cr Holmes's is 
powerful servigerous.' He laughed out again. 

' Gain away ! What air ye givin' me ?' said Ephraim. 
' But I 'low, Luce, ter see ye standin' thar in the ranks 
like a bit er rock, it war marvellious.' 

' I can tell you I felt badly enough at fix-st, when 
those two men were killed alongside us,' said Lucius. 
' I might have been a thousand miles underground for 
all the power I had to move, I was simply stiffened 
where I stood. Then it all seemed to go away and 
leave me, and I felt quite cool. How did you feel ?' 



HOW GENERAL SHIELDS SENT A DESPATCH. 135 

'Pretty bad,' admitted Ephraim. 'But I war so 
taken up with thinkin' about you thet it soon went 
orf.' He made this remark in the most matter-of-fact 
way, not in the least to draw attention to his own 
unselfishness, but as if it were the most natural thino- 

o 

in the world that Lucius should be his first concern. 

' Well, I 'm afraid that I was thinking of myself/ 
said Lucius; 'but after the first burst I only grew 
moi-e and more interested in the fight.' 

'Oh yes,' exclaimed Ephraim, struck by a sudden 
recollection. ' What made ye turn round and say thet 
about old Blue Bag ?' 

The fire went out of Luce's eyes; the glow faded 
from his cheeks and left them pale. Again the memory 
of those awful moments in the air overcame him. His 
voice was unsteady as he answered : ' I don't know 
what set me thinking of it ; but all of a sudden the 
thought crossed me, and I felt as if I should die. I 
never shall forget it. I never can forget it as long 
as I live.' 

He shuddered violently. He was not exaggerating. 
The impression made upon him by his adventures 
in the air had been supreme. It had taken fast hold 
of some corner of his brain in a manner which perhaps 
the doctors could explain, and whenever imagination 
or memory called it forth, it threatened to unman 
him. 

Ephraim considered him curiously. He could not 
understand the almost simultaneous exhibition of such 
opposite states of mind. However, he had wit enough 
to let the subject drop, and only answered : ' Waal, we 
won't talk about thet any more ; I guess it 's over now. 
See hyar, Luce, I think our best plan will be to make 



13G HOW GENERAL SHIELDS SENT A DESPATCH. 

fer thet little cabin agen aud lie low thar till evenin', 
when w^e kin make a break fer our lines,' 

'I don't think that we ought to venture into that 
loft a second time,' said Lucius. 'If the general 
caught us there again and recognised you, there would 
be trouble.' 

* Thar would, shore enuff,' agreed Ephraim ; ' but ye 
misonderstand me. Luce. I didn't mean to hide in 
the loft, but ter walk right inter the cabin, lie down 
and take a snooze till it gits dark enuff ter be orf. 
Ef any one comes in we kin jest walk out agin. We 
kin always say we 're makin' fer our lines.' 

' I see,' said Lucius. * Very well. Besides, it doesn't 
follow that the general will return. But are you 
sure that you can find your way there ?' 

'Why wouldn't we?' returned Ephraim. 'It's on 
this side er the wood, and not so far away et thet. 
Come on.' 

They hugged the edge of the w^ood, and after walk- 
ing for twenty minutes or so, again reached the clear- 
ing in which the log cabin stood. No one was in 
sight ; but still, instead of approaching it from the 
open side, they preferred to skirt the wood a little 
further and reconnoitre through the window in case 
of accidents. 

At last they stood opposite to the window, and here 
Ephraim pulled Lucius back. 

' You stay hyar, Luce,' he said. ' I '11 go forward 
and see ef the coast is cl'ar.' 

'Not at all,' answered Lucius; 'you're always doing 
that sort of thing. I '11 go for a change.' 

' No, lemme go,' protested Ephraim. ' What 's the 
use er runnin' yerself inter danger 'thout any reason ?' 



now GENERAL SHIELDS SENT A DESPATCH. 137 

' The danger is the same for you as for me,' retorted 
Lucius. ' I tell you I am going.' 

'Then we'll both go/ said Ephraim decidedly, and 
accordingly they went. 

Cautiously approaching the window, they peeped in 
and surveyed the cabin. To their great relief it was 
empty ; but before Lucius knew what he was about, 
Ephraim stole quietly round the hut and surveyed 
the open space. 

'It's all cl'ar, Luce,' he said in a tone of satisfac- 
tion. ' I don't see nary a Yank. They 're not fur 
orf, though, fer the camp is jest beyond the woods 
thar.' 

'Then shall we go in here?' asked Lucius. 'You 
think that is the best thing to do ? ' 

'I reckon,' returned Ephraim laconically, and 
slipped in through the window by way of illustra- 
tion. ' By time !' he exclaimed when he was fairly in, 
' thar 's been some one in hyar sence we made tracks 
out er it.' 

'How do you know ?' inquired Lucius, scrambling in 
to join him. 

' Why, all the food is gone,' sighed Ephraim, point- 
ing to the table with a sigh. ' I war looking forward 
ter afresh supply er them crackers after all this runnin' 
around.' 

' I 've got plenty here,' said Lucius, slapping his 
pockets ; ' and you 've got the ham.' 

' It won't do ter gobble up thet jest yet, Luce,' ex- 
plained cautious Ephraim. ' Ye kin hev jest wan slice 
ef ye 're sharp set, but we must keep some fer ter-night 
in case we run dry.' 

' No, I 'm not very hungry,' answered Lucius ; ' but 



138 HOW GENERAL SHIELDS SENT A DESPATCH. 

I 've turned most unaccountably sleepy all of a 
sudden.' 

' Nuthin' onaccountable about thet,' said Epliraim, 
'seein' ye never went ter bed at all last night, and hev 
been up all ter-day. Lie down in the corner and take 
a snooze. 1 11 look after things.' 

'Why/ asked Lucius, surprised, 'aren't you sleepy, 
too ? You said you were just now.' 

' Ez ter thet,' responded Ephraim, ' I kin hold old 
man Nod orf a bit yit, I reckon. It '11 maybe suit 
better ef we don't go ter sleep at the same time.' 

' I see,' said Lucius with a huge yawn. ' Well then, 
you lie down, and I '11 take the first watch.' 

' Shucks !' ejaculated Ephraim. ' What does it mat- 
ter ? Ye air half over already. Go ter sleep. I '11 git 
my allowance by-and-by.' 

' But,' began Lucius drowsily, ' you always do every- 
thing. I — I — don't see — why' . He mumbled on 

for a second or two, nodded heavily, started into 
semi-wakefulness, nodded again, and rolled over fast 
asleep. 

Ephraim looked down at him with an expression in 
which tenderness for his friend and self-reproach were 
blended. ' Pore Luce,' he murmured, ' ye air jest 
nat'ally tuckered out. I wish I hadn't been sech a 
or'nery fool with my notions. I 'd give suthin' 
ter see ye back agen safe and sound in the old 
home et Staunton. Pray God I '11 git ye thar yit, 
though. 

He stole to the door, and going outside, planted 
himself with his back against the logs of the cabin, 
so that he could command a view of all approaches 
by the front or sides. For he rightly judged that 



HOW GENERAL SHIELDS SENT A DESPATCH. 139 

only skulkers would be likely to enter by the window, 
and for them he did not care. 

' " Carry me back to old Virginny," ' he hummed 
softly to himself, as he glanced up and down ; up 
to where he knew the Federal camp lay concealed 
behind the bend of the woods ; down to where, though 
he could not see them either, he knew that the Con- 
federates were still standing to arms, expecting a fresh 
attack on the part of Shields, and wondering why it 
'never came. But Shields was too astute. It w^as as 
if he had heard the remark made by Jackson to his 
chief of staff, when the latter expressed the opinion 
that Shields would make a more determined attack 
on the bridge at Port Republic before the day was 
out. 'Not he,' said Stonewall, waving his hand to- 
wards the heights. 'I should tear him to pieces. 
Look at my artillery.' 

Boom ! boom ! boom ! came the sound of the heavy 
guns at Cross Keys, and Ephraim's face brightened 
as he pictured the struggle, in which he made not 
the slightest doubt Fremont was getting very much 
the worst of it. 

' Old Stonewall will be hyar ter-morrer,' he thought, 
' and then thar '11 be big doin's.' 

Boom ! boom ! The monotony of the sound, fraught 
with no matter what deadly meaning, began to weary 
him. He straightened up and walked slowly up and 
down in front of the cabin. He was fearfully tired, 
and the desire for sleep threatened to overcome him 
even as he walked. But he shook it angrily off, 
pinching himself into wakefulness, until at last the 
desire fled from him. 

The hours wore on to mid-day, mid-day passed to 



140 HOW GENERAL SHIELDS SENT A DESPATCH. 

afternoon, afternoon dragged towards evening, and still 
he kept his self-imposed vigil, pacing up and pacing 
down, leaning against the wall of the cabin, or occa- 
sionally stepping discreetly inside, when a messenger 
or a patrol hurried by, or when blare of bugle or 
roll of drum in the Federal camp beyond the trees 
seemed to indicate a movement in the direction of 
the bridge. 

It never occurred to him to wake Lucius, who still 
lay wrapped in profound slumber, only every now 
and then he stole in to look at him as though to 
satisfy himself that the boy was safe, and then out 
again to his sentry go. 

About four o'clock he had just stepped outside 
after one of these little visits, which consoled him a 
good deal for the trouble he was taking, for even 
to look at Lucius was always a delight to Ephraim 
— he had just stepped outside, when his watchful eye, 
turned in the direction of the Federal camp, observed 
two persons coming round the bend of the woods. 

One he instantly recognised as General Shields ; but 
with the features of the other, who was in civilian 
dress, he was unfamiliar. Like a flash Ephraim was 
back again in the cabin, peering round the corner of 
the door at the advancing couple. ' I wonder ef he 's 
comin' in hyar,' he thought. ' I should say not, but 
it 's better to be on the safe side these days. I hate 
ter wake Luce ; but I reckon it '11 have ter be done.' 

He sped to Luce's side, and bending over him, shook 
him strongly. The boy stirred, moaned uneasily, but 
did not open his eyes. Ephraim rushed to the door 
and back again. 

' Wake up. Luce ! ' he called, shaking him more 



HOW GENERAL SHIELDS SENT A DESPATCH. 141 

violently than ever. ' Wake up ! The ginrul 's out- 
side, and e£ he comes in and ketches me hyar, thar 11 
be trouble, ez ye said. Wake up ! ' 

This time Lucius opened his eyes, but only to close 
them instantly, and fall once more heavily asleep. 

' By time ! ' muttered Ephraira, glancing at the 
window, the desperate thought occurring to him that 
the best thing to do would be to heave Lucius straight 
out, as the most effectual way of awakening him. 
Then he shook his head. ' No,' he said to himself, 
' thet '11 not do. He might yelp, and then we would 
be spotted shore and certain. Whar air they now ? ' 
He took another squint from his vantage point. The 
general and his companion were approaching, saunter- 
ing slowly along, deep in earnest conversation. 

Once again Ephraim repeated the shaking process, 
and this time with such good effect that Lucius sat up, 
rubbed his eyes, stared at the Grizzly in a bewildered 
fashion for an instant, and concluded by asking where 
he was. 

' Wake up ! ' returned Ephraim. ' Ye '11 soon know. 
Through the window, quick ! Ah ! ' as voices were 
plainly heard outside, ' it 's too late. We must just 
face it out. Maybe they won't come in.' 

His next glance relieved his apprehensions. Evi- 
dently the unwelcome visitors did not intend to enter. 
They were walking wide of the hut, not looking at it, 
and in a moment or two would have passed it by. 
Ephraim made a warning sign to the now wide-awake 
Lucius, as fragments of the conversation floated to 
them. 

' So you see,' General Shields was saying, ' it is of 
the highest importance that what we could not do for 



142 HOW GENERAL SHIELDS SENT A DESPATCH. 

him to-day, General Fremont should do for us to- 
morrow. Whatever be the result of to-day's fight at 
Cross Keys, he must effect a junction with me to- 
morrow, and to that end those despatches, detailing my 
plans, must be in his hands to-night. I know it is 

difiicult ; but do you not think ' The rest of the 

sentence was lost in the distance, as the two passed on. 

' Shall we get through the window now ? ' asked 
Lucius, as the voices died away. 

' I reckon not,' returned Ephraim ; ' they might 
see us from the other side. Better stay whar we air 
till they air out er sight. They 're not thinkin' er us 
jest now.' 

' What were they talking about ? ' inquired Lucius, 
who, having been further from the door, had not heard 
the conversation so perfectly. 

' I dunno rightly ; but it 's suthin' about gittin' word 
over ter Fremont about ter-morrer's fight. Sh ! Hyar 
they come back again. Now, lemme do the talkin' ef 
they come in.' 

This time it was the voice of the civilian that reached 
them. ' I 've done it before in the boat, general,' he 
was saying, ' and I don't know v/hat is to hinder me 
doing it again.' 

' Well, I don't want to confuse you with suggestions,' 
said General Shields in reply. ' You know your own 
business too well for that. You are sure the boat is 
there ? ' 

' It was there two hours ago, snug under the bank. 
I don't see why it shouldn't be there now.' 

' You know our new word, of course ? ' 

' Oh yes ; and theirs too, unless it has been changed 
since this morninsr.' 



HOW GENERAL SHIELDS SENT A DESPATCH. 143 

They came to a halt opposite the door of the cabin, 
behind the door of which Ephraim instantly flattened 
himself, while Lucius stood stiffly erect in a corner. 

The general began to laugh. ' If you can take a 
dip down, and learn anything of Jackson's intentions 
before you return, you admirable civilian, I shall be all 
the more pleased,' he said. Then noting the look of sur- 
prise on his companion's face, he added hastily : ' I was 
laughing at the recollection of a ridiculous incident 
which happened in there this morning. I '11 tell you 
as we go along.' And taking the civilian by the arm, 
he continued his walk in the direction of the camp. 

Ephraim stole a cautious glance round the post of 
the door. * By time ! ' he grinned, when they were out 
of earshot. * Ef he 'd come in and suspected we 'd 
heard thet pretty bit of news, I reckon he 'd hev larft 
the wrong side of his mouth.' 

' Tell me, what does it mean ? ' asked Lucius eagerly. 

* I reckon it means thet the admire-able civilian, as 
the ginrul called him, is a pesky spy,' replied Ephraim. 

' As Colonel Spriggs said you and I were,' laughed 
Luciiis. 

' Ezackly ! On'y this yer 's the real article, wharas 
we war on'y imitashuns. Anyway, this is the way 
I put it up. The civilian thar — who most likely ain't 
a civilian at all — hes got a pocketful er despatches fer 
Ginrul Fremont. Likewise, he hes got a boat some- 
whar over thar under the river bank. Likewise, he 
perposes to row across above our pickets and hand 'em 
ter Fremont, Likewise, his intention is, the orn'ery 
skunk, ter take a stroll down ter Stonewall's camp, and 
find out all he kin. Likewise ' 

' Likewise,' interrupted Lucius, ' you 've got an idea 



144 HOW GENERAL SHIELDS SENT A DESPATCH. 

into your head that those despatches would be better 
in General Jackson's hands than in General Fremont's, 
and you are wondering if we couldn't somehow manage 
to get hold of them.' 

Grizzly made a step forward and caught Lucius by 
the hand. ' Right ye air, Luce ! ' he cried, beaming 
upon his friend. 'Ye hev struck it. Thet war my 
idee, on'y I don't ezackly see how it 's gwine ter be 
done.' He paused to put on his considering cap. 

' I 'd like to have a try for it,' said Lucius with a 
grimace. ' You see, I 've been thinking a good deal 
what an awful row there '11 be when I get home — that 
is, if I ever do get home ; but if we could show that 
we 'd done some real service to them, why, they 
wouldn't have so much to say,' he finished, having 
become rather mixed in his pronouns. ' Why shouldn't 
we make for the river and head him off. Grizzly ? ' he 
continued, after a pause. ' We 've got guns and 
ammunition now. I believe we could do it.' 

' Ef we on'y knew ezackly when he 'd start, and how 
fur away his boat is,' said Ephraim dubiously, 

' Well,' said Lucius, who had gone to the door, 
'there is a civilian walking towards the river now. 
See, he has just come round the bend of the woods 
from the camp. Of course, I don't know whether it 's 
your admirable civilian or not, for 1 didn't see him, 
but ' 

' By time ! It 's him, shore enuff,' broke in the 
Grizzly excitedly. ' Now, Luce, ef we 're goin' ter do 
ennythin', we must do it sharp and quick. We carn't 
foller straight in his tracks, thet much is cl'ar. He 's 
got a start, and we must allow him a leetle more. 
What we got ter do is, to go down the woods a space, 



HOW GENEEAL SHIELDS SENT A DESPATCH. 145 

and then make a bee-line for the river. We kin steal 
up the bank through the belt er trees thet fringes it, 
and e£ we carn't head him orf, maybe we kin stop 
him before he gits across.' He tapped his rifle signifi- 
cantly. 

They set off running as hard as they could through 
the trees for a hundred yards or more, and then 
Ephraim stopped to spy out the land. 

' He 's goin' very slow, Luce,' he said. ' I reckon we 
shall head him oflT if we kin git thar 'thout bein' 
stopped. Now, bub, across the first field fer all ye 're 
wuth.' 

Three wide fields intervened between them and the 
river, and the risk that they would be seen was very 
great. They were forced to incur it, though ; and, 
besides, they hoped that their blue uniforms would 
divert suspicion from them if any one should catch 
sight of them. However, they crossed the first and 
second fields in safety, and concealed themselves in a 
ditch while making a survey of the third. The man 
was out of sight now, but it was only the conformation 
of the country which concealed him. As a matter of 
fact, the boys were nearer the river than he was. 

'Thar's one thing, though,' said Ephraim, as they 
sat in the ditch. ' Thet belt er wood by the river is 
bound ter be full er Yankee pickets. We han't got 
the countersign. What 's ter be done ef we air 
stopped ? ' 

' Let 's go on until we are stopped,' urged Lucius the 
bold. 

Ephraim shook his head. ' No,' he said ; ' that '11 
not do. We should on'y be turned back agen.' He 
thought deeply for a moment, the blue vein coming 

J 



146 HOW GENERA!. SHIELDS SENT A DESPATCH. 

out in the middle of his forehead, as it always did 
when his mind was concentrated. All at once he 
slapped his hand upon his thigh. ' By time ! I 've got 
it ! ' he exclaimed, and burst out laughing. 

' What have you thought of ? ' asked Lucius eagerly. 

The Grizzly made him a rapid communication, the 
effect of which upon Lucius was to cause him to throw 
himself flat upon the bank of the ditch and roll about 
with delight. 

' Come on ! ' cried the Grizzly. ' Now mind ye do 
ezackly ez I do, and when ye run, keep a sharp eye 
£er the boat.' 

They set off again at a quick pace, until they had 
cleared the field and entered the broad belt of trees 
which fringed the water. Here they slowed down, 
and made a bee-line, so far as they could, for the river. 
In five minutes or less they heard the splash of the 
swollen current against the bank, and turning their 
faces sharply down stream, moved on for two or three 
minutes more, making all the noise they could. 

' Halt ! Who comes there ? ' 

No sooner did the sharp challenge ring out than, as 
if at a signal for which they had been waiting, the 
two boys burst into wild, panic-stricken yells : ' The 
Rebs ! the Rebs ! They 're on us ! The pickets are 
driven in ! ' Shouting which they charged madly 
down upon the sentry who had challenged them. 
Seeing, as he supposed, two Federal sentries in full 
flight, the man never doubted for a moment that the 
alarm was genuine, and discharging his rifle in the 
air, set off" as hard as his legs could carry him through 
the belt of trees towards the fields, beyond which lay 
the camp. 



HOW GENERAL SHIELDS SENT A DESPATCH. 147 

And now all along the river bank the cry was taken 
up, ' The Rebs ! the Rebs ! ' and everywhere could be 
heard the sound of feet crashing through the under- 
growth, as the pickets bolted in upon their supports. 

Bursting with laughter, Ephraim and Lucius watched 
the disappearance of the man immediately in their 
front ; but the sharp call of a bugle and the noise of 
the long roll upon the drums, as the Federal regiments 
sprang to arms in anticipation of the threatened attack, 
w^arned them that there was no time to lose, and they 
continued their race down the bank. 

* There 's the boat ! ' panted Lucius, after a few 
minutes. ' I see her nose just peeping out.' 

' Down in the underbrush, then ! ' said Ephraim 
sharply, ' and don't git up unless I call ye, or ye see 
thar 's need.' 

' What are you going to do ? ' asked Lucius, obeying 
the order. 

' Give 'em a taste of their own sauce, I reckon ! 
Hash ! Hyar he comes. Lie low ! ' 

He flung himself in front of Lucius, with his rifle 
at the port, and waited. 

Hurrying footsteps drew nearer. Some one was 
coming on at express speed. 

Ephraim gripped his rifle tight, and set his teeth. 

Swish! The bushes parted, and the civilian stood 
before him. 

' Halt ! ' shouted the Grizzly, bringing his bayoneted 
rifle down to the charge. ' Halt ! Who comes thar ?' 




CHAPTER X. 




There 
He had 

sentries- 



HOW THAT DESPATCH WAS INTERCEPTED. 

ALT ! Who comes thar ? ' repeated 
Ephraim, as the civilian paused, regard- 
ing him with an expression of supreme 
astonishment, 
was reason for the stranger's amazement, 
moored his boat well above the chain of 
-a good quarter of a mile, indeed — for no 
attack could be expected from the river, and natur- 
ally none could come from the north below Lewiston, 
and therefore only the sentries whom Ephraim and 
Lucius had scared had been posted in the former 
place, and none at all in the latter. 

Consequently the civilian was puzzled. His first 
thought was, that he had struck a point too low down 
for his boat ; his second, that he remembered every 
detail of the appearance of the spot, and that he 
could not possibly be mistaken. However, when, for 
the third time, the peremptory challenge sounded in 
his ears, he put as good a face as he could upon the 
matter, and answered distinctly and with confidence, 
' Friend ! ' 



HOW THAT DESPATCH WAS INTERCEPTED. 149 

' Advance, friend, and give the countersign,' ordered 
Ephraim, to the huge delight of Lucius, with whom he 
had many a time and oft rehearsed just such a scene 
in the w^orkshop, little imagining it would ever be 
carried out in actual practice. The stranger advanced 
till the point of Ephraim's bayonet was within six 
inches of his chest. 

'Halt!' cried Ephraim once more. 'That's close 
enough. Now stand and give the countersign.' 

The civilian hesitated an instant. He could not tell 
where the suggestion came from, but somehow the 
thouo-ht flashed into his brain that all was not as it 
should be. ' Potomac,' he answered steadily. 

Ephraim saw the momentary hesitation, and read it 
aright. His own danger made him alert. ' Go back 
the way you came,' he said, keeping his rifle at the 
charge. ' That ain't the word.' 

It was a bold move, but it told ; and the Grizzly, to 
his own relief, noticed the expression of mingled 
surprise and satisfaction on the stranger's face. 

' Shenandoah,' said the civilian. ' Will that suit 
you ? ' 

'That's better,' answered Ephraim, but without 
shouldering arms. ' Why did you give me the wrong 
one fust ? ' 

' I — I was thinking of yesterday,' replied the 
stranger rather confusedly. 

' Ah !' retorted Ephraim drily. ' Waal, I 'm put hyar 
tew think on to-day. What d' ye want ? ' 

' What do I want, you fool ? ' replied the man 
angrily. ' Why, I want to pass, of course. Shoulder 
arms.' 

' Who air yew orderin' about ? ' snapped Ephraim. 



150 HOW THAT DESPATCH WAS INTERCEPTED. 

'And yew keep a civil tongue in yewr head, mister. 
Don't yew be so ready tew call names.' 

' Well, I didn't mean that,' said the stranger, wishful 
to conciliate him. ' I was anxious to pass, that is all. 
I am sorry. Let me pass, please, for I am in a hurry.' 

' Hurry or no hurry,' returned Ephraim stolidly, ' ye 
don't pass hyar. Go back, or I '11 run ye through.' 

He looked so fierce as he said it, that the stranger 
actually did recoil a pace or two. But he recovered 
himself instantly, and said smoothly : 

' Look here, my good friend, what is your objection 
to letting me pass ? I gave you the word.' 

' But yew gave me the wrong one to start with,' 
answered Ephraim, glowering at him. 

The stranger bit his lip. He saw he had made a 
mistake, and, in endeavouring to explain it, he 
appeared to offend the sentry still further. 

' I said it in jest — to try you — to see if you were a 
smart fellow,' he said, with a little laugh. 

'Oh, did yew ?' Ephraim frowned upon him. 'Waal, 
yew '11 find I 'm smart enutt" fer the like of yew, I 
guess. Quit now. I ain't got no time or inclernashun 
fer more fooling.' 

' Nor I, either,' answered the civilian haughtily. 
' So let me pass at once — or ' 

' Or what ? ' 

' Or I '11 report you.' 

' Yew '11 report me!' sneered Ephraim, advancing 
upon the man until the ugly-looking bayonet just 
touched his coat. 'I tell yew, ef yew ain't out of 
that afore I count ten, thar won't be much left of yew 
to report. Quit, I say.' 

The civilian made another backward step. ' Look 



HOW THAT DESPATCH WAS INTERCEPTED. 151 

here, sentry,' he said, ' this is getting beyond a joke. 
I tell you, I have important business, and I must pass. 
I 've given you the word, and that gives me the right. 
Come, now/ he wheedled ; ' don't be obstinate.' 

' And I 've the right, and, what 's more, it 's my 
duty tew stop any one I consider a suspishus charac- 
ter, word or no word,' replied Ephraim. 'Yew come 
here, a soldier dressed up ez a civilian ; yew gimme 
fust the wrong word, and then the right word ; and 
then yew try tew git round me tew let yew pass. I 
say yew shan't pass.' 

The man started during Ephraim's speech. ' How 
do you know that I am a soldier ? ' he asked. 

' By the set of yewr shoulders and yewr walk,' 
replied Ephraim. ' Any one could see ez much ez 
that.' 

'Then, perhaps, you know who I am as well ?' 

' No, I don't ; but I guess I have a fairly good 
notion what yew air ez well,' 

' And what may that be ? ' 

' A spy,' answered Ephraim gloomily. ' I don't 
know but what I orter run yew through whar yew 
stand ef I done right. But I '11 give yew one more 
chance. Quit, or take the consequences.' 

' Look here,' said the man suddenly. ' I know you 
are only doing your duty according to your lights ; 
but if you knew everything, you 'd find you were 
rather exceeding it. I tell you what, I am all right. 
There 's nothing wrong about me. I don't want a fuss, 
or to lose time. Here are ten dollars for your trouble. 
Now stand aside.' 

' Thet 's enough ! ' replied Ephraim. ' Thet about 
sizes yew, I should say. Now, I '11 not only not let 



152 HOW THAT DESPATCH WAS INTERCEPTED. 

yew pass, but I '11 detain yew hyar till the rounds 
comes along. Yew 're my prisoner.' 

The man looked this way and that, flushing and 
paling with rage. ' You time-honoured thickhead ! ' 
he cried at last. ' I '11 tell you who I am, and then 
maybe you '11 alter your mind. I 'm Captain Hopkins 
of the " Massachusetts." ' 

' Ho ! ' drawled Ephraim. ' Fust yew 're a civilian, 
and then yew 're a soldier, and naow yew 're a capting. 
Waal, I han't altered my mind. I guess ef yew kin 
bluff, why, so kin I.' 

' A^ery much better than the captain can, ' thought 
Lucius in his hiding-place. 

'Let me pass, or take the consequences,' cried the 
captain, and quick as thought he drew a revolver 
and presented it at Ephraim. 

Like lightning the glancing bayonet swept upwards, 
met the dull blue tube with a clank, and away went 
the captain's weapon ten feet into the air behind 
Ephraim, splash into the river. 

'Yew see,' drawled Ephraim. 'I guess I didn't come 
down in the last shower of green mud.' 

'Confound you !' said the captain, laughing in spite 
of his evident vexation. ' You are too smart. I see that 
I shall have to tell you everything. Pay attention to 
what I say now, and hold your tongue about it when 
you get back to camp. — By the way,' he broke off" 
' why didn't you run in Math the rest of them just 
now, when there was that scare ? ' 

' Ef I war to go runnin' fer the camp every time 
thar war a skeer ter-day, I 'd never be done,' answered 
Ephraim. 'My post is hyar, and hyar I mean tew 
stay. What 's this yew want tew tell me ? ' 



HOW THAT DESPATCH WAS INTERCEPTED. 153 

' Simply this/ replied the captain. ' Mind now, hold 
your tongue. I am the bearer of despatches from 
General Shields to General Fremont.' 

Ephraim's face was a study. He shouldered arms at 
once, and gasped out : ' What ! Then why in thunder 
didn't yew say so before ? ' 

' For very good reasons,' smiled the captain. ' Come, 
now, I 've put off time enough already. My boat is 
waiting there, and ' 

Down came Ephraim's rifle to the charge again. 
' Boat ! ' he echoed. ' Yew hev a boat ? ' 

' Certainly,' said the captain. ' You didn't suppose 
I was going to walk across the river, did you ? ' 

'Back with yew !' cried Ephraim, feinting to lunge. 
' Good land ! yew nearly fooled me, Mister Secesh. So 
yew thort yew war going tew git in yewr boat ez easy 
ez that, and jine yewr friends the Rebs.' 

' Frankly/ said the captain, ' your idea of duty is an 
extreme one ; but I suppose, in these days of slipshod 
soldiers, you ought to be commended for it. Look 
here/ he unbuttoned his coat, 'I'll show you the 
despatch, and may be that will convince you.' He 
pulled out a large envelope, sealed, and addressed to 
General Fremont. ' There,' he said. ' Now, are you 
satisfied ? ' 

With a sudden, unexpected movement, Ephraim 
snatched the packet, cast it to the ground, and set 
his foot upon it. 'Keep off!' he cried, as the cap- 
tain made a rush to recover his precious document. 
' Another step, and yew 're a dead man. Yew must 
think me green, ef yew 'magine I couldn't see through 
that game. Why, any one could write Fremont's name 
outside an envelope. I '11 bet a trifle thar 's things in 



154 HOW THAT DESPATCH WAS INTERCEPTED. 

that yew wouldn't keer fer Fi'^mont tew see, all the 
same.' 

' Give me my letter !' shouted the enraged officer. 

' It 's my letter now, and yew 're my prisoner. I'll 
give it and yew up tergether when the grand rounds 
come.' 

Captain Hopkins changed his tone again. ' I never 
knew such a fellow as you,' he said. ' You mean well ; 
but yovi have no idea what an amount of valuable 
time you are wasting. I swear to you I am not 
a rebel spy, but what I told you — the bearer of a 
despatch to General Fremont. As a last resource, if 
you will let me go, I will return to the camp, and 
bring back some one who will identify me. Will 
that do ?' 

Ephraim appeared to meditate. Finally he said : 
* How am I tew know yew ain't fooling me ? I might 
ez well have a prisoner, naow I 've got one.' 

' You have only my word for it, of course,' said the 
captain. 

' Oh, waal, I guess I '11 trust yew,' answered Ephraim 
after another pause. ' Off with yew, and come back 
ez soon ez yew kin git. I '11 keep the despatch safe.' 

The captain needed no second telling, but turned 
and ran. Ephraim hailed him when he had gone a 
little way. 

' Well,' demanded the captain, turning round, and 
fearful of a bullet, by way of a keepsake, from this 
very officious sentry. ' What is it ? ' 

' Ef yew air reely Captain Hopkins,' said Ephraim — 
' and mind, I 'm not saying yew ain't — yew won't git 
me inter trouble fer this. Yew '11 tell 'em I only did 
my dewty.' 



HOW THAT DESPATCH WAS INTERCEPTED. 155 

' Confound you and your duty ! ' shouted back the 
captain, and sped out of sight among the trees. 

' Sh ! Keep quiet ! ' said Ephraim warningly, as a 
curious explosive sound, half snort, half cough, came 
upwards from the undergrowth. ' Wait till he gits 
well out er the road, and then ye kin larf. Hold on 
till I track him down.' 

He stole through the belt of trees, and, to his great 
satisfaction, observed the captain hurrying as fast as 
he could across the fields. The commotion in the 
camp, too, had died away, now that it had been ascer- 
tained that the alarm had been a false one— like so 
many more on that eventful day. But Ephraim's 
common sense told him that it would not be very long 
before fresh sentries were placed along the river ; and, 
moreover, the outraged bearer of despatches would lose 
no time in returning, to prove his identity and reclaim 
his precious letter. 

The Grizzly, therefore, made all haste back to Lucius, 
whom he found sitting up in the brushwood, appar- 
ently the picture of distress, for tears were stream- 
ing down his cheeks, and deep, labouring sighs escaped 
his chest. 

'What's the matter? What's wrong?' exclaimed 
Ephraim in real concern. ' What ye cry in' for ?' 

' Crying !' snorted Lucius. ' Ough ! ough ! Is he 
gone? Ough! ough!. Oh! ho! ho! ha! ha! ha! I 
can't help it ! Ough ! ough ! I must laugh if I 'm 
killed for it ! Ough ! Oh, Grizzly, I never saw any- 
thing so funny in my life.' 

He w^ent off into fresh paroxysms, while Ephraim, 
to whom the affair had been serious enough in all 
conscience, grinned quietly in sympathy. 



156 HOW THAT DESPATCH WAS INTERCEPTED. 

' Waal, I 'low it might hev sounded funny ter ye, 
listenin' thar. Luce,' he said. ' Somehow it didn't 
strike me in thet light et the time. I war so sot 
on gittin' thet letter.' 

' Sounded funny ! ' echoed Lucius, his laughter ex- 
hausted to a helpless giggle. 'It wasn't only that. 
You looked so funny. Oh ! oh ! oh ! if you could 
only have seen your own faces.' 

'I 'low he looked a bit sot back when I got the 
ba'net agin his chest,' chuckled Ephraim. 

' Ah ! but your own face,' put in Lucius. ' Don't 
forget that. And the way you talked to him. My ! 
It was the 'cutest thing in the world. What put it 
into your head ?' 

'It come thar ez we war runnin' along,' returned 
Ephraim ; ' an fer the rest, it jest argued itself out ez 
it went. But come, thar ain't too much time. We 
must be orf out er this before he gits back.' 

' In the boat, of course,' said Lucius, rising. 

Ephraim nodded. ' Yas, sir!' he answered with a 
light laugh. ' And I do think it war mighty nice of 
'em ter hev thet boat hyar fer us jest ez we wanted 
ter git away and all. — In with ye. Luce.' 

Lucius scrambled down the bank, and catching hold 
of the painter of the boat, drew her in to the shore 
and leaped aboard ; while Ephraim, with the all im- 
portant document in his hand, stood for a moment 
to consider. 

' It won't do to run no risk er losin' this, after all 
the trouble we 've been at ter git it,' he said. ' Whar 
d' ye reckon I 'd better put it ?' 

' Stow it in your cartridge pouch,' suggested Lucius. 
' That will be as safe a place as any other.' 



HOW THAT DESPATCH WAS INTERCEPTED. 157 

'Right!' said Ephraini, folding the letter up sinall 
and placing it in his pouch. ' Haul her in, Luce.' 

'What are you going to do?' asked Lucius, bringing 
the boat's nose again to the bank. 'If we pull out 
into the river, we shall be seen.' 

'Likely, ain't it?' inquired Ephraim cheerfully, as 
he gathered up the rifles. ' No ; we '11 head her up 
stream and glide along the bank till we git below 
their outposts. Ketch hold er the guns.' 

' But they may search along the bank,' demurred 
Lucius, laying the rifles in the bottom of the boat. 

'Nary a doubt er that,' replied Ephraim, stooping 
to unloose the knot of the painter from the sapling 
round which it was tied. ' But et first they '11 be in 
sech a confusion thet I 'low they won't be able ter 
think er everything et once. And the fust idee '11 
nat'ally be thet we hev gone down stream and then 
headed fer the opposite side.' 

He untied the rope, and jumping down the bank, 
slung it aboard and scrambled in after it. Instantly 
the boat swung round, obedient to the current, and 
with her nose to the north, drifted rapidly down 
stream. 

' Out oars, Luce !' cried Ephraim, fumbling in the 
bottom of the boat. ' Head her round. By time !' 

He stopped suddenly and straightened up. At the 
same instant Lucius grasped the facts, and they stared 
at each other with white, scared faces. 

There were no oars in the boat ! 




CHAPTER XI. 




LUCIUS BRINGS THE BOAT ASHORE. 

yi^^OR a moment Ephraim was, as he would him- 
f^\ self have expressed it, ' sot back,' but he was 
^ not one to remain so long, and seizing his 
rifle, he grasped it by the barrel, and using 
the butt as a paddle, endeavoured to guide the course 
of the boat. 

'Quick, Luce!' he exclaimed. 'Take yourn, and 
we '11 see what kin be done. The pesky Yank ! Of 
co'se he 'd hid the oars somewhar in the bresh, so 
as nobody could steal his boat. By time ! What an 
or'nery fool I war not ter hev tliort er thet before.' 

' No ; it was I who was the fool,' corrected Lucius, 
labouring away with his makeshift oar. ' You had 
quite enough to do with the letter and the rifles. I 
should have looked to see if everything was right.' 

' Waal, thar 's a pair of us, then, ef ye will hev it 
so,' returned Ephraim gloomily. ' Ennyway, it don't 
matter a corn cob now whose fault it war. The 
mischief 's done. I wouldn't so much keer,' he added, 
beating the water furiously with his rifle-butt, ' on'y 
when that clever captain comes back and finds the 
oars whar he left 'em, he '11 nat'ally know we must 



LUCIUS BRINGS THE BOAT ASHORE. 159 

be down stream, and they won't be long gittin' on 
our trail.' 

Twilight was fast settling over the valley ; for the 
high mountains which surrounded the cup of land 
in which this living drama was being enacted, effectu- 
ally shut out the sun as the day declined, and Lucius 
remarked hopefully that it would soon be dark. 

' It '11 not be so dark ez all thet comes ter on a 
June night/ responded Ephraim in a cheerless tone. 
'Thar '11 be plenty er light fer them ter take pot- 
shots et us ez we drift along. Yit it ain't so much 
fer thet I 'm keerin'. I 'm thinkin' er the despatch 
and the importance it 'ud be ter old Stonewall ter 
git it before mornin'. — I 'm afraid we ain't doin' much 
good with the guns, Luce.' 

The crafty captain had removed not only the oars 
but the rowlocks, and consequently they had no sup- 
port for their extemporised oars, but were obliged to 
paddle with them Indian fashion, holding the barrel 
high and sweeping the butt through the water on 
either side of the boat. But the rounded, highly 
polished wood offered little resistance to the rushino- 
stream, and the current swept them steadily down, 
all their efforts to turn the boat's head proving in- 
effectual. 

' We '11 make the Potomac at this rate, ef we go on 
long enough,' said Ephraim grimly, the sweat pouring 
off his face as he strove desperately with his clumsy 
implement; 'and then all we hev ter do is ter float 
gracefully down and give 'em howdy in Washin'ton 
city.' He laughed in the very bitterness of his spirit. 

They were swirling along only about twenty j^ards 
from the south bank ; but as Ephraim remarked, they 



160 LUCIUS BRINGS THE BOAT ASHORE. 

might as well have been a mile away, for by no 
possibility could they reach it, and he looked longingly 
at the boughs that dipped into the rushing waters, 
thinking how different matters would be if only he 
could lay hold of them. 

Suddenly there was a spurt of flame, followed 
instantly by a loud crack. Ephraim's cap soared 
into the air, mounted for a moment and then fell 
with a dull splash into the river, while its owner, 
with a shrill yell, tumbled over into the bottom of 
the boat. 

As Ephraim fell, his gun slipped from his nerveless 
fingers and sank instantly out of sight, and Lucius, 
hastily drawing his on board, bent terror-stricken over 
his friend. 

'Oh, Grizzly!' he cried in piteous tones. 'What 
is the matter ? Are you shot ? ' 

An inarticulate gurgle from Ephraim was the only 
reply. 

' Speak to me !' Lucius almost shrieked. ' Oh ! oh ! 
Surely you are not killed. Speak to me, Grizzly ! 
Speak to me ! Oh ! oh ! Whatever shall I do ?' 

Thus adjured, Ephraim slowly opened his eyes 
and looking up into the anxious face bent over 
him, remarked quaintly, though without the least 
intention of being humorous : ' Hello, Luce ! Is thar 
a hole right through my head, or what ?' 

So great was his relief that Lucius broke into a 
joyous laugh. ' Grizzly,' he demanded with mock 
severity, ' if you were not shot, what did you mean 
by tumbling over ; and if you are not killed, what are 
you lying in the bottom of the boat for V 

' Ye may say thet, Luce,' returned Ephraim, uncoil- 



LUCIUS BRINGS THE BOAT ASHORE. IGl 

ino; his lonoj leno'th and struerfflino' into a sittino- 
posture. ' It war a mighty close thing, I reckon. 
Look at thet.' 

He lifted his face as he spoke, and Lucius, with an 
exclamation of dismay, saw that his forehead was 
blackened with powder, and that one of his eyebrows 
and part of his front hair were singed off. 

'Ye see,' said Ephraim, gingerly touching the raw 
and tender skin, ' a leetle more and ye 'd hev had ter 
steer yer way home alone. I reckon it 's a powerful 
frightenin' sort er thing, a gun bustin' off et ye when 
ye least expect it.' 

'But what happened?' asked Lucius. 'I wasn't 
looking. That is, I looked up in time to see your 
cap go off and the gun slip out of your hand. The 
next I knew you were on your back.' He gripped 
Grizzly's hand and added earnestly : ' I 'm so glad you 
weren't killed, old Grizzly.' 

' I 'm obleeged ter ye,' answered Ephraim, still very 
white about the lips. ' So am L' His voice shook a 
little as he tried to explain the matter to his comrade. 
* Ye see,' he went on, 'this is how I put it up. Ez I 
war splashin' around with the gun-butt in the water, 
the trigger must hev got caught, or the hammer 
drawn back by a bolt and let go agen. The next 
thing I knowed war a rush er blindin' light past my 
eyes, a wave like the breath er a bit of iron from a 
blacksmith's furnace on my forehead, and thet's all. 
I went down et thet, and didn't feel like stoppin' ter 
arsk questions.' 

'Was that the way of it?' said Lucius. 'At first I 
thought that somebody had fired at you from the 
bank.' 

K 



162 LUCIUS BRINGS THE BOAT ASHORE. 

'By time!' exclaimed Ephraim, the colour rushing 
back into his face, and his nerves steeling again as he 
heard this. ' I tell ye, bub, that 's ezackly what they 
will be doin' before very long. Why, don't ye know, 
the sound er that rifle-shot '11 bring the Yanks down 
on us quicker 'n ennj'thing. Luce, we must do suthin'.' 

'What are we to do?' asked Lucius helplessly. 'If 
we could not manage the boat when we had both 
guns, what shall we do now that we have only one ?' 

' Waal, then,' inquired Ephraim drily, ' do ye want 
ter set still hyar while the Yanks make a target er ye ? 
I tell ye I don't feel that way myself.' He made a 
wry face at the thought of his recent experience. 

' I don't either, you may be sure,' answered Lucius. 
' But something must be done. — I have it. Grizzly ; I 
have it.' 

'What hev ye struck?' queried Ephraim, roused by 
the hope in his voice. 

'Why, of course,' replied Lucius, 'let us swim ashore 
and leave the ugly old boat to take care of herself.' 

'BuUee!' cried Ephraim, unbuckling his cartridge 
belt and flinging it into the bottom of the boat. 

'BuUee! So we will. Let's Thar's just one 

thing agin it, though. Luce,' he broke off" dismally. 

' What 's that ?' demanded Lucius, who had already 
removed his belts and taken off" his coat. ' What 's 
against it ?' 

' Why,' answered Ephraim, looking as shamefaced as 
if he had been confessing to a grievous sin, ' it ain't 
much, maybe ; but I reckon it 's enuff". I can't swim.' 

At this plain statement of an unpleasant fact, Lucius 
looked aghast. ' Why, of course you can't,' he said. 
' I 'd forgotten that.' Then recovering himself, he 



LUCIUS BIKINGS THE BOAT ASHORE. 163 

added cheerily: 'Well, never mind, Grizzly; I'll do 
the swimming. You just grab me lightly round the 
back and kick out well behind, and I '11 get you there. 
'Tisn't far.' 

^ Ephraim shook his head. 'It isn't ez fur ez all 
thet. Luce, I 'low,' he said ; ' but thar 's a tur'ble strong 
current. Ef I drew ye under by my weight and felt 
myself drownin', I might ketch hold on ye and drown 
ye ez well. A man couldn't well know what he war 
about in sarkumstances like thet, ye see. So I 'm 
obleeged ter ye f er thinkin' er it ; but ef it 's all the 
same, I 'd ruther not resk it.' 

' There 's no risk,' urged Lucius. ' All you have to 
do is to hold on tight.' But Ephraim was obdurate. 

'Well, what are we to do, then?' asked Lucius dis- 
consolately. ' Every minute is precious.' 

'I know thet,' answered Ephraim, 'and the best 
thing ter be done is this. Ye swim ashore ez soon 
ez ye kin. I '11 drift on in the boat, and maybe it '11 
be dark afore they find me, and I may run agin 
a spit or suthin,' and so git ashore. Thar's no use 
lettin' 'em cotch the two er us. Now, is thar?' But 
he looked down as he made the suggestion. 

'I don't wonder you are ashamed of yourself to 
propose such a disgraceful thing,' cried Lucius indig- 
nantly. ' To think for a moment that I would leave 
you in the lurch just on the chance of saving my own 
skin, after all you 've done for me. Oh, Grizzly, what 
a shame to suppose I would do it !' 

' I didn't think ye 'd do it, Luce,' mumbled Ephraim, 
looking a very crestfallen Grizzly indeed. ' On'y I 
thort ' 

' I don't want to hear what you thought,' interrupted 



164 LUCIUS BRINGS THE BOAT ASHORE. 

Lucius, who was undressing himself while he talked. 
' I Ve made up my mind what to do, and I 'm going to 
do it. So there.' 

'What mought thet be ?' inquired Ephraim, eyeing 
him curiously. 

' I '11 show you fast enough,' answered Lucius, now 
stripped to his shirt. ' If you are afraid to trust your- 
self in the water along with me ' 

' Fer fear of drownin' ye, Luce ; fer fear of drownin 
ye,' put in Ephraim deprecatingly. 

' Of course. What else ? I didn't suppose you were 
thinking of yourself. I 've had teaching enough to 
know that 's not your way. If you 're afraid of 
drowning me, then there 's only one thing to be done 
— I must swim ashore myself and tow the boat after 
me, with you in it.' 

' See hyar,' began Ephraim, but Lucius cut him 
short. 

* Come on, now. Don't waste time in talking. 
Fasten the painter round me. You can tie a better 
knot than I can.' 

' It '11 hurt ye monstrous. Luce,' said Ephraim. 

' Nonsense ! It will not hurt at all, tied around my 
shirt; and if it should, what matter? It's better than 
being shot, I should say. Oh, do be quick ! Don't you 
see this gives the best chance to both of us to get off 
scot-free ? Tie it tight now. Don't be afraid.' 

Under this incessant urging, Ephraim fastened the 
rope round Lucius with fingers that trembled a good 
deal from excitement and aj^prehensions for the safety 
of his young comrade. But at last it was done, and 
Lucius turned and faced him. 

' Now,' he said, ' you can see that the current is very 



LUCIUS BRINGS THE BOAT ASHORE. 165 

strong by the rate at which we are travelHng. We 
are not far off the shore ; but it may take a long time 
to get there. I think that I can do it, though ; but if 
not, if I call out to you, or if I should sink, haul me on 
board again. That 's all you have to do, besides help- 
ing as much as you can with the butt of my rifle.' 

' I wish ye wouldn't, Luce,' implored Ephraim. ' The 
light is goin' fast, and thar 's no rumpus yit, ez fur ez 
I kin hear. Ef we hev good luck, they'll miss us 
altogether. But ef they come and pop at ye while 
ye 're in the water ' 

'Pooh!' interrupted Lucius, 'I shall be all right. 
Just you keep a sharp lookout along the bank, and be 
ready to haul me in if necessary. Good-bye ! I 'm oflf ! ' 

He waved his hand, and slipped noiselessly off the 
gunwale of the boat, feet foremost, into the river. 

Meantime a very different scene was being enacted 
at the Federal camp. Hardly had General Shields 
informed himself that the scare created by the boys 
was a false one, and that he had at present nothing to 
fear from the dreaded and ubiquitous Jackson, than 
his attention was arrested by the sudden appearance 
of his ' admirable civilian,' Captain Hopkins, who with 
disordered dress, flushed features, and breathless from 
running, rushed unceremoniously into the presence of 
his commanding officer. 

' Captain Hopkins !' exclaimed General Shields in 
astonishment. 'Back already. Why, you've been 
gone little more than an hour.' Then as his eye fell 
upon the captain's untidy dress and general look of 
tribulation, he added anxiously: 'There is nothing 
wrong, is there V 



166 LUCIUS BRINGS THE BOAT ASHORE. 

' The despatch !' panted Hopkins. ' I ' 



' Don't tell me anything has happened to that,' 
interrupted Shields vehemently. ' Surely not. Surely 
not.' 

' No,' got out the captain between his struggles for 
breath ; ' only a leather-headed sentry — a question of 
identity — won't let me pass — send some one back 
with me.' 

' Take time to breathe, sir, and you will be better 
able to explain yourself,' fumed General Shields, adding 
inconsistently : ' Go on, sir. Don't keep me waiting- 
all day. Let me hear your news.' 

The captain drew a few deep inspirations and felt 
better. ' General,' he said, ' there is nothing wrong ; only 
a little provoking delay. I found a sentry just about 
where I had moored my boat, and because I was in 
civilian dress, he refused to allow me to pass.' 

Found a sentry alongside your boat !' repeated 
General Shields. ' I thought you had moored it well 
above the line.' 

' So I thought myself, sir,' answered Hopkins ; ' but 
evidently I was in error, for there the sentry was.' 

' But you had the word,' said Shields in a puzzled 
voice. 

* Of course, sir ; but I 'm afraid I behaved rather 
foolishly, for, having an idea that all was not right, I 
gave the wrong word, and that made the fellow so 
suspicious of me, that even when I gave him the right 
word afterwards, he would have none of me.' 

' You might have explained your business, then,' 
suggested the general, ' rather than have incurred this 
aggravating delay.' 

'That is just what I did sir,' protested Hopkins. 'I 



LUCIUS BRINGS THE BOAT ASHORE. 167 

even went the length of showing him the despatch, and 
when he seized it ' 

' What ! ' vociferated the general. ' Do you mean to 
say that the despatch is no longer in your possession ?' 

* Hear me out, sir,' said Hopkins uncomfortably, for 
he felt that at the very best he made a ridiculous 
appearance in the affair, ' I merely held the despatch 
before his eyes, when he instantly seized it and 
declared that it must be a bogus document, and I 
myself a rebel spy.' 

' Then why did you not recover the document by 
force ?' demanded the general sternly. 

' He had already disarmed me, sir. I was completely 
at the mercy of his bayonet.' 

' Well, well,' muttered the general irritably. ' Go 
on.' 

' He was for detaining me until the arrival of the 
rounds ; but I gave him my word that I was not a 
rebel spy, and, with great reluctance, he at last per- 
mitted me to depart to obtain evidence of my identity.' 

'Retaining the document,' mused General Shields. 
'Why did you not appeal to some of the sentries 
higher up ? ' 

' You forget, sir, they imagined themselves driven 
in, and had all returned to the camp.' 

' Then why had this fellow not followed their 
example ?' inquired General Shields sharply. 

' I asked him the same question, sir, and his reply 
was that there he had been placed, and there he 
meant to stay.' 

General Shields reflected. ' I will go with you 
myself, captain,' he said at last. ' You have either 
been dealing with a very staunch soldier, or a most 



168 LUCIUS BUINGS THE BOAT ASHORE. 

accomplished rogue. Pray Heaven you have Dot been 
fooled in this business.' 

' Oh, I should say not,' answered Hopkins confi- 
dentl}'-. ' The fellow was staunch, as you say, and a 
bit pig-headed — indeed you might call it thick-headed 
— but he was not fooling me.' 

' We shall see,' answered the general drily. ' It is an 
awkward business, very. — Major Wheeler,' he added, 
turning to a staff officer, who stood close beside him, 
' order a corporal and ten men to follow me, fifty paces 
in the rear. — Now, Captain Hopkins.' 

They walked rapidly across the fields, followed by 
the corporal and his men, and as they neared the river 
belt the general said : ' You are sure you can go straight 
to the place ?' 

' Certain, sir,' was the reply. ' See, here is where I 
broke cover on my way back. We have only to follow 
the trail I made as I ran.' 

'Humph!' muttered the general as they pushed 
through the trees. ' It is not a little odd that your 
pig-headed sentry does not challenge us. — Halt!' he 
called to the corporal. ' We will go on alone. March 
forward when I hail you.' 

They went on for another twenty paces, and 
still remained unchallenged, which was not so very 
odd after all, considering that there was no one there 
to challenge them. 

' It is very singular,' murmured poor Captain Hop- 
kins. ' I can't have mistaken the place. — General ! 
General!' he cried, 'you were right. I have been 
fooled. The boat is gone ! ' 

General Shields uttered a fierce exclamation. ' I '11 
be hanged if I didn't think so from the very first,' he 



LUCIUS BRINGS THE BOAT ASHORK. 169 

shouted: 'Here, corporal, bring up your men. — You 
should not have moved from this spot, sir, when once 
3''ou lost possession of those papers,' he thundered at 
the unfortunate Hopkins. 'You should have died 
rather than let them fall into the hands of the enemj', 
and as you once suspected trickery, there is no excuse 
for you.' 

' That was at first, sir,' stammered Hopkins. ' After- 
wards I had every reason to believe that ' 

'Silence!' raged Shields. 'Your carelessness has 
effected enough already without your offering lame 
explanations. Heaven only knows what the con- 
sequences of this wretched fiasco will be to us. — 
Corporal ! ' 

' Sir,' answered the corporal, saluting. 

But before the general could issue his order, what- 
ever it was, Hopkins, who had been groping about in 
the undergrowth, shouted excitedly : ' Here are the oars 
and the rowlocks, general, just where I hid them. If 
the fellow has cut the boat adrift and gone in her, he 
can't be far off.' 

'Can't he?' sneered Shields. 'And how do you 
know, sir, that the rascal had not a boat of his own 
under the bank, and simply cut yours adrift to lessen 
the chances of pursuit ?' 

The bitter suggestion appeared to confound Hopkins 
for a moment, but he answered humbly : ' Of course, 
general, we must allow for possibilities ; but if I may 
be permitted to say so, if the fellow had no boat of 
his own, and swung out into the stream in mine before 
he noticed the absence of oars, the current would 
carry him rapidly down stream. He could not land 
either on one side or the other.' 



170 LUCIUS BRINGS THE BOAT ASHORE. 

' No,' sneered the general again ; ' and with a current 
like that, I think we might as well look for him at 
Harper's Ferry by this time. Further, you seem to for- 
get, sir, that the man had the use of his hands, and by 
clinging to the trees alongside the bank, might very 
well work the boat up stream in the direction of the 
enemy. — Moreover,' he muttered vexedly to himself, 
'we have no proof that he ever left dry land. Such a 
fellow, in Federal uniform, too, might pass anywhere. — 
And I '11 be bound, sir,' he flashed out at the miserable 
Hopkins, ' that your carelessness has put him in 
possession of the countersign. Gad ! I shall have 
him mounting guard outside my quarters to-night if I 
don't take care. This must be seen to. — What was he 
like, sir ? What was he like ? Describe him.' 

'He was a tall, loosely made young man, sallow 
complexioned, and with a quantity of black, curling 
hair upon his cheeks and chin,' answered Hopkins 
feebly, utterly taken aback by this new view of the 
situation. 

General Shields started as if he had been stung. 
'By George!' he said under his breath. 'If I don't 
believe that was the identical fellow I spoke with this 
morning, and who told me that rigmarole about the 
balloon. Perhaps I have been too hard upon Spriggs. I 
have been, if my suspicions are correct. And if so, this 
is a dangerous fellow. We must lay him by the 
heels without delay. — Corporal!' 

' Sir/ said the corporal again. 

But once more the general's order was stayed upon 
his lips, for at that moment a solitary rifle-shot rang 
out, far down the river. It was that caused by the 
accidental discharge of Ephraim's gun. 



LUCIUS BRINGS THE BOAT ASHORE. 171 

' There he is ! there he is !' began Hopkins excitedly ; 
but the general silenced him with a wave of his hand. 

'We have no proof of that, Captain Hopkins,' he 
said coldly. 'I do not suppose that if your friend 
wishes to escape, he is likely to go gunning on the 
Shenandoah. However, we will take measures to 
ascertain. — Corporal !' 

'Sir,' answered the corporal once more, and this 
time he received his order. 

' Send five of your men up the river to thoroughly 
search the bank. Take the other five with you down 
the river in the direction of that shot. Lose no time, 
and leave no stone unturned to secure the man whom 
Captain Hopkins has just described. You noted the 
description ?' 

'Yes, general.' 

' Very good. Be off, then. Remember the fellow is 
— or was — in Federal uniform. — Now, Captain Hopkins, 
attend to me, if you please. You will return to camp 
at once, give Major Wheeler my compliments, and 
repeat your description of this man. Then add that 
it is my order that he at once send out search parties 
in all directions, up the river, down the river, and in 
and about the woods, with instructions to bring before 
the provost-marshal every stray Federal soldier they 
can pick up. We shall recover a lot of stragglers that 
way, even if we do not get our man. And — er — one 
thing more,' as Hopkins moved away. ' When you 

have executed this order, you will ' 

'Yes, general?' said Hopkins, quailing under the 
former's withering look. 

' Report yourself to your colonel as under arrest, 
sir,' snapped the general, and turned upon his heel. 



172 LUCIUS BRINGS THE BOAT ASHORE. 

Left alone, General Shields made a careful survey of 
the river and the bank in his immediate vicinity, but 
finding nothing for his pains, returned without further 
delay to the camjj, where he at once gave orders that 
the pickets should be doubled along the line next the 
enemy, and also, as might have been expected, changed 
the countersign for the night. 

The moment Lucius took the water, it became plain 
to him that he had entered upon no light undertaking, 
and looking round, he informed the Grizzly of this. 

' Say, Grizzly,' he cried, ' this is going to take me 
all my time. The current is tremendous. Watch out 
now, and the moment you see that the rope is taut, 
work your paddle for all you 're worth, so as to bring 
her nose round.' 

He drew a deep breath, and turning half over, 
cleft the water with a powerful side-stroke, in order to 
bring the greatest possible force to bear on the nose of 
the boat, and suddenly. It told. She stopped with a 
shiver, the water churning at her bows, and slowly 
her nose began to come round. Ephraim worked 
madly with his rifle-butt, hissing at every splash 
like a stable-boy grooming a horse. 

'She's round!' he cried joyously. 'She's round, 
Luce ! Her nose is ter the bank ! ' 

On hearing this satisfactory piece of intelligence, 
Lucius turned over on his chest and swam with frog 
strokes towards the shore. He was wise enough not 
to attempt this in a bee-line, but moved diagonally, 
content to progress if it were but an inch at a time, 
so long as, aided by Ephraim's paddle, he could keep 
the boat's nose in the right direction. It was for- 



LUCIUS BRINGS THE BOAT ASHORE. 173 

tnnate for him that he was young and strong, and that 
he knew how to husband his strength, for he needed 
it all in that chill, swiftly flowing stream. 

Presently Ephraim hailed him with encouraging 
words : ' Ye 're gittin' thar, Luce. Ye 're gittin' thar. 
Air ye tired, bub ? Let yerself drift ef ye air, Thar 's 
not a sign er any wan on the bank above or below. 
My ! I wish I could swim, Luce. Ye wouldn't be long 
in thar. Keep it up, sonny. Ye 're gittin' us thar.' 
And so on, with many soothing, senseless words that 
fell gratefully upon the ear of the almost exhausted 
Lucius. 

The boy lifted his eyes and glanced ahead. The 
bank was now but thirty feet away ; but at the rate 
he was making it, it was not unlikely that ten minutes 
more in the water awaited him. He could not bear 
to think of it, for already his limbs felt numb, and his 
breath began to fail him. He shut his eyes, set 
his teeth hard, and struck out blindly. He heard the 
plashing of Ephraim's sorry paddle behind him, and 
the sound was as the noise of thunder in his ears. 
His strokes became feebler and less frequent, his body 
swayed more and more to the rush of the current, and 
for all that he could do, the rope slackened every now 
and then. Still he kept on, beating down that wild 
desire to hail Ephraim, who he knew would haul him 
in at the first call, and slowly struggling towards the 
goal of all their hopes, the shore. Suddenly his heart 
gave a great leap, seeming to turn over in his chest and 
stop dead. A great roaring filled his ears, his head 
seemed to split asunder with the force of the pain that 
racked it ; a shriek which made but a bubbling in the 
water about his mouth burst from his throat ; and as 



174 LUCIUS BRINGS THE BOAT ASHOBE. 

a dead-weiffht seemed to drag him downwards, he threw 
his hands above his head. 

Something touched them, and he grasped wildly, 
clawing at the yielding support. Joy ! It was a 
branch. He hung on with all his remaining strength, 
and in another instant Ephraim had made fast and 
dragged him into the boat. 

For some minutes he lay down there, unable to speak 
or move, but gradually, as the Grizzly rubbed and 
chafed him, the power came back to his limbs and the 
sense to his brain. 

' Thet 's well !' cried Ephraim, overjoyed. ' Oh, Luce, 
it made me sick ter see ye so done. By time ! ye did 
thet pull in grand style. Air ye all right now ?' 

Lucius nodded. 

' 'Cause ef ye air,' went on Ephraim, ' I hev got an 
idee. Ye see thar, right in front er us, is a cave. It 's 
not very deep. Fact is, it 's nuthin' but a hole in the 
bank, but it'll serve fer a restin'-place till we kin git 
some notion er what is goin' ter happen. Git up thar. 
I '11 send up the things.' 

Standing on the seat of the boat, the hole was just 
on a level with Luce's chest, and with a little assistance 
from Ephraim he easily climbed in. 

The Grizzly had passed up the clothes, the rifle, and 
the two belts, when something arrested his attention. 
He listened intently for a moment, and then clinging 
to the floor of the hole, gave a backward kick with 
his feet that sent the boat spinning out into the stream, 
and sprang in beside Lucius. 

Scarcely had he done so, when a loud voice, not far 
away, shouted exultantly : ' I see him, corporal ! There 
he is ! ' 



-^■^-<^ 



^:^ ^C 






V^ 




CHAPTER XII 



A DUEL IX THE DARK. 




> S this alarming shout rang in their ears, 
iWv^ Lucius, forgetting his fatigue, sprang to the 

3i^ 



mouth of the hole and made as if he would 
dive again into the water. But Ephraim 
held him back. 

' Steady, Luce !' he exclaimed. 'Lie low! It's the 
boat he sees — not us.' 

Thus restrained, Lucius withdrew, shivering with 
cold, to the farthest extremity of the hole, where he 
proceeded to rub himself down and dress. Ephraim, 
meanwhile, took his stand at the entrance, and listened 
intently for any indications of the whereabouts of the 
enemy. 

They were not long in coming, for presently foot- 
steps resounded on the bank above, and a voice eagerly 
questioned : ' Where ? Where did you see him ?' 

' Well, I didn't exactly see him,' answered the first 
voice, much to Ephraim's relief ; ' but there 's the boat, 
and I guess he won't be far oft".' 

The corporal strained his eyes after the boat through 
the gathering darkness. ' I guess it 's empty,' he said 
after a long look. ' However, squad, attention ! At 



176 A DUEL IN THE DARK. 

one hundred yards, tire a volley ! Ready ! Present ! 
Fire !' 

Bang ! crash ! splinter ! sputter ! as some of the 
balls struck the boat, and the rest fell like hail- 
stones in the water round about her. 

Ephraim chuckled softly, and rubbed his hands 
together in delight. ' We air jest ez well out er thet, 
Luce,' he whispered. ' I reckon wan or two er them 
Yanks kin shoot straight.' 

'Load!' ordered the corporal above. 'You four,' 
addressing his men, ' follow that boat along the bank, 
and see if you can discover any signs of life in her. 
Fire at discretion. — You, Whitson,' to the man who 
had first caught sight of the boat, ' stay here and show 
me where you think that boat came from. It was not 
in sight two or three minutes ago.' 

Whitson pushed through the trees to the verge 
of the bank. 'It seemed to come out of the bushes 
just here,' he said, peering over ; ' but I don't see any- 
thing.' 

' You don't suppose the fellow is going to rise right 
up and look at you, do you ? ' inquired the corporal 
with fine scorn, adding : 'Did you hear anything ?' 

' Not a sound,' admitted Whitson. 

' Then it 's pretty certain there was no one in her,' 
said the corporal. ' Most likely she got caught on a 
snag and turned in here, broke loose, and drifted off 
again. The general was right — the fellow has either 
gone up the bank or struck inland. All the same, 
we 'd better search the bank hereabouts.' 

But the projecting roof of the hole offered a sure 
protection to the boys ; and though more than once 
they could distinguish the trampling of the feet of the 



A DUEL IN THE DARK. 177 

soldiers above their heads, their hiding-place remained 
undiscovered, and presently the search was discon- 
tinued. 

•It's no use,' said the corporal. 'He is not here. 
Never was, I should say. We 're only wasting time. 
Let us go back to camp. — Hello ! What do you sup- 
pose that is ?' 

That was Ephraim's cap, which, supported by its 
own lightness and the water beneath it, hove in sight, 
floating gracefully down stream, some forty yards 
away. 

Ephraim saw it at the same moment, and softly 
whispered to Lucius to come and see the fun. 

' It looks like a cap,' answered Whitson, peering 
through the gloom. ' Blamed if I don't believe it is a 
cap.' 

' With a head inside it ? ' pursued the corporal, also 
doing his best to see. 

' I can't say. Shall I try and find out V 

The corporal nodded, and Whitson, throwing forward 
his rifle, fired. The ball struck the water some feet 
beyond the cap, which still moved unconcernedly 
along. 

'Missed!' cried the corporal, firing his own rifle 
immediately afterwards. ' That 's better. That wiped 
your eye.' 

His bullet had struck the cap slantwise on the 
crown, turning it over, so that it immediately filled 
and sank to the bottom. 

'My !' whispered Ephraim gleefully. 'It's ez good 
ez shootin' et bottles et a fair.' 

' I guess it was only a cap,' said the corporal, reload- 
ing his rifle ; ' but we can't be sure. We '11 report the 

L 



17S A DUEL IN THE DARK. 

circumstance, anyhow. — Hello! What did you find?' 
This to the four men who had returned. 

' No one in the boat, corporal,' answered one of 
them. ' We followed her down to the bend, and she 
ran on a shoal and turned over on her side. We could 
see right into her.' 

' We '11 report that too,' said the corporal with mili- 
tary brevity. — ' Fall in ! Squad, attention ! Shoulder 
arms ! Slope arms ! Quick march !' 

' Thet 's one more down ter us,' said Ephraim, with 
an air of relief, as the noise of footsteps died away in 
the distance. ' Thet old boat served our turn well, 
after all. They won't worry ter hunt up in this direc- 
tion any more. Thar 's been a fuss, though, Luce. Did 
ye hear what he said about the ginrul ? My ! I reckon 
them Yanks will be ez lively ez a Juny-bug ter-night, 
looking fer us and all.' 

' So lively,' returned Lucius, ' that I think we may 
as well give up all hope of placing that packet in 
General Jackson's hands. It is enough that we, or 
rather you, have prevented it from reaching Fremont.' 

* I reckon not,' said Ephraim thoughtfully. ' Shields 
is pretty sure ter try and git a message over ter him 
now thet this wan 's failed.' 

' Even so, he may change his plans,' argued Lucius. 

' He han't the time,' answered Ephraim with con- 
siderable shrewdness. ' Thet is, ef he 's on the lookout 
fer an attack to-morrer, and I reckon he is. Of co'se, 
he may alter 'em hyar and thar, jest ter try and bluff 
old Stonewall ; but in the main I b'leeve he '11 hev ter 
abide by 'em.' 

' Well, what is it to be, then ? ' asked Lucius, yawning. 
' I 'm out for the day, so I may as well take a hand in 



A DUEL IN THIi DARK. 179 

the fun. If we 're caught with that despatch about 
us, we 're as good as done for. However, I suppose we 
may try for the sheep now that we 've got the lamb.' 

' But we ain't goin' ter let them ketch us,' said 
Ephraim. ' Ye see, we 're a heap better off than we 
war this mornin' or this afternoon, for we know the 
countersign, and ef with thet we don't manage ter 
slip past their sentries, it 's a wonder. All the same, 
though,' he went on, ' we may ez well take a couple er 
hours' rest. I 'm about done, I own up ter thet, and I 
should say thet you wouldn't be the worse fer it.' 

' Considering that I had four hours' sleep this after- 
noon, thanks to you,' answei'ed Lucius, ' 1 'm not so 
bad. I could eat something, though ; so if you '11 
produce the ham, we '11 la}^ the table.' 

Ephraim laughed, and opening his coat, extracted 
the wedge of ham which he had carried there since 
the morning, and which, whatever it might have been 
at first, did not look very inviting now. However, 
hunger is the best sauce, and nearly dark as it was, 
the dishevelled appeai-ance of the ham did not count 
against it ; so between it and the biscuits the two boys 
made a very hearty meal, chatting merrily all the 
while, as if they had not a care in the world. 

'Now,' said Lucius, when they had finished, 'I feel 
as fresh as a daisy. You lie down and sleep for the 
first hour, and I '11 keep watch.' 

' Air ye shore ye kin hold out V asked Ephraim, who 
did indeed feel terribly sleepy. 

' Certain. Lie down, old Grizzly. I '11 wake you 
when I think the hour is up.' 

Ephraim took ofi' his coat, and making a pillow of 
it, went to sleep almost instantly, so w^orn out was 



180 A DUEL IN THE DARK, 

he ; while Lucius, going to the mouth of the cave, sat 
down and looked over the river into the night. 

It was almost dark, for the sky had clouded over, 
and every now and then a few drops of rain fell, but 
the soft light of the summer night prevailed to some 
extent, and Lucius, who could see the outlines of the 
steep heights across the river, fell to picturing the 
battle which had been waged beyond them that day, 
and wondering which side had gained the victory. 
He lost himself in his musings for a quarter of an 
hour, and then fumbled mechanically for his watch. 
'I wonder if the hour is up,' he said to himself; 'I'm 
beginning to feel drowsy now. Oh, I forgot. I left 
it at home.' 

The word gave his thoughts a new turn, and in 
fancy he saw his mother grieving over his absence, 
and despairing of ever seeing him again. The idea 
distressed him, and presently conscience began to add 
her stings, and strive as he would to excuse his dis- 
obedience, his mood grew gloomier and gloomier. 'I 
hate the dark,' he muttered ; ' it always makes me feel 
so lonesome. Surely the hour must be up.' 

As a matter of fact, he had kept watch but for 
twenty minutes, but those who have tried it know 
how slowly the minutes drag themselves along in the 
dark, when the sense of time is, as it were, abolished, 
and the attention, with nothing else to attract it, is 
firmly fixed on the hours, whose wings seem to have 
been clipped for the occasion. It is the watched pot 
that never boils. 

At last the lonesome feeling overcame Lucius to 
such an extent that he could bear it no longer; so 
rising to his feet, he stole softly across the cave and 



A DUEL IN THE DARK. 181 

sat down beside the snoring Grizzly, for company, as 
he expressed it to himself. Sitting there in the deeper 
darkness, a gentle drowsiness fell upon him. He made 
one or two not very vigorous efforts to shake it off, 
and then, yielding to its delicious influence, sank into 
a refreshing sleep. 

Scarcely a moment later, as it seemed to him, he 
was awakened. A hand was laid upon his shoulder, 
and another pressed lightly over his mouth. 

' Hush, Luce,' whispered Ephraim's voice close to his 
ear. ' Git up softly. It 's time we war out er this. 
They 're huntin' fer us.' 

'Where?' whispered Lucius back. 

* Thar 's a boat comin' down the river. I jest caught 
sight er the flash of a lantern. They 're searchin' the 
banks. Come, quick !' 

They groped about in the dark until they found the 
rifle and their belts, which they put on, and stole to 
the mouth of the cave. Far up the river they saw a 
little twinkling light, which, as they watched it, grew 
slowly larger. Very slowly, for the search was a 
careful one, and the hunters were taking their time. 

'What a good thing you saw it!' said Lucius in a 
low voice. ' They might have walked right in upon 
us if you hadn't. Oh, Grizzly,' he added in a tone of 
deep self-reproach, 'I went to sleep without waking 
you!' 

' Ye rolled over on me wanst ye war asleep, and thet 
woke me,' answered Ephraim. ' I let ye snooze ez long 
ez I dared. Never mind thet now. Let 's consider 
how we 're ter git out er this.' 

At first sight it appeared to be no easy matter, for 
the bank shelved away on each side of them, and 



182 A DUEL IN THE DARK. 

the overhanging roof ot" the cave projected so far over 
the floor that it was impossible to reach it, while to 
attempt to leap for it in the darkness would infallibly 
result in a ducking, if nothing worse, in the river. 

' Ef we on'y had a light,' muttered Ephraim. 

' I have,' said Lucius. ' There are some matches in 
the pocket of these trousers.' 

*Ah, but we dassn't show it,' returned Ephraim. 
' We must think out some uther way.' 

' Could we not just drop into the stream ?' suggested 
Lucius. ' It 's so close to the bank, we could not fail 
to reach it.' 

'We'll do thet if the wust comes ter the wust,' 
replied Ephraim ; ' but not ef thar 's enny uther line ; 
fer we might git separated in the dark', and besides, 
we don't know the depth.' 

' Be quick and think of something, then,' said Lucius. 
' They are coming nearer.' 

Ephraim was lying down at the mouth of the cave, 
leaning out as far as he could without overbalancing 
himself, and feeling along the face of the rock in all 
directions for a ledge. At last he uttered a low grunt 
of satisfaction. 

'What is it?' asked Lucius. 

'The face of the rock jest underneath us is rough 
and projecktin',' answered Ephraim. 'I b'leeve we 
could work along it. Anyway, I 'm goin' ter try. 
Ketch hold er the gun.' 

Lucius felt for the rifle with which Ephraim had 
been making investigations, and took charge of it, 
while the Grizzly placed his hands upon the ledge 
formed by the floor of the cave, and cautiously swung 
himself over. 



A DUEL IN THE DARK. 183 

With dangling legs he explored the rocky wall 
until his feet struck the projection he thought 
he had felt, and resting them there, began to worm 
his way along. When he had reached the extreme 
angle of the cave, he stopped, and, clinging with 
one arm, thrust out the other to continue his explora- 
tions. It met the stout bough of a tree overhanging 
the river. Ephraim pulled with all his might. It 
held, and he determined to risk it. Letting go his 
hold of the ledge, he threw all his weight upon the 
bough, grasping it with his disengaged hand as he 
swung off into space. The bough bent beneath his 
weight, and his feet dipped into the river as he hung, 
but he struggled blindly on, and in another moment 
felt the firm earth under him as he struck the 
shelving bank. 

'Bullee!' he said, as with an effort he regained 
his balance. — ' Luce ! Air ye thar ?' 

' Yes,' answered Lucius. ' Have you managed it ?' 

'You bet,' returned Ephraim cheerfully. 'AH ye 
hev ter do is ter hang on ter the ledge and feel with 
yer feet till you kin git a hold. Then work yerse'f 
along till ye come ter the end of the hold and grab 
fer a branch. Hang on ter thet, and ye '11 be safe.' 

' But the gun,' said Lucius. ' Shall I leave it 
behind ? ' 

' By time, no ! ' exclaimed Ephraim. ' It 's all we 've 
got, and we don't know when we may want it. Hyar, 
I '11 come back fer it, and ye kin pass it along.' 

He felt for the friendly bough, and presuming that 
he had found it, threw his weight upon it. Instantly 
it cracked across, and down he went into the water 
with a great splash. Fortunately he fell close under 



184 A DUEL IN THE DARK. 

the bank, and wildly grasping, caught a clump of 
bushes and dragged himself out. 

' It 's all right. Luce,' he called up to the boy, who 
was listening anxiously. ' I must hev caught the 
wrong one. I 'm on'y wet about the legs.' 

' It 's all wrong,' replied Lucius under his breath ; 
' those fellows have heard the splash : I 'm sure of 
it by the way the lantern is being moved about.' 

' Half a breath,' said Ephraim. ' We won't leave 
the gun ef we kin help it. I '11 hev anuther try.' 

He went to work again more cautiously, and this 
time got hold of the right bough. 

' Send her along. Luce,' he said. ' Careful now. 
We don't want her goin' orf like the first wan.' 

Lucius cautiously extended the gun, which, after 
one or two ineffectual attempts, Ephraim caught and 
landed safely. For an active boy like Lucius the 
rest was easy, and in a very short time he joined 
the Grizzly on the bank. 

'Which way now?' inquired Lucius, when once 
they had attained the level ground above. 

* Oh, up the river,' answered Ephraim. ' We must 
keep our faces towards old Stonewall's camp. We 're 
all rioht now, I reckon, with these uniforms and 
the countersign. It 's lucky we 've got thet.' 

Alas, poor Ephraim ! He did not know of General 
Shields's order, nor how anxiously his arrival was 
expected by every sentry along the line. 

' I wonder what time it is,' said Lucius in the low 
tones they had learned of necessity to adopt. 

' It orter be about nine o'clock,' answered Ephraim ; 
'but we've no way of knowin'. Thar's a moon, too, 
about midnight, I'm sorry ter say; but p'raps the 



A DUEL IN THE DARK. 185 

clouds won't let her through. I 'm fond er the 
moon ; but jest this wan night I 'd do without her 
and willin'.' 

' It won't be as dark outside this belt of trees as it 
is here,' said Lucius, as they moved along. 

' All the wuss fer us,' said Ephraim ; ' fer outside 
'em we must go. This belt is shore ter be full er 
sentries all along the river line. We must work our 
way down ter them fields we crossed this afternoon, 

and grub along through the ditch. That'll be 

Hush ! Some one 's comin'. Lie down.' 

He sank noiselessly to the ground among the under- 
brush as stealthy footsteps were heard approaching. 
Lucius followed his example, and the two lay side by 
side, scarcely daring to breathe. 

General Shields had left nothing undone to recover 
his all-important despatch, and the search was being 
vigorously prosecuted in every direction. A couple 
of boats had been procured, one being sent up and 
the other down the river, while, at the same time, 
land parties patrolled the bank, so that the fugitive, 
if discovered, would be caught, as it were, between 
two fires. Such a fate would have been inevitable 
for the boys, had not the vigilance of the Grizzly 
averted it, and Lucius blushed in the darkness as a 
pang of shame shot through him at the thought of 
the danger to which his self-indulgence in going to 
sleep upon his post had exposed them. He burned 
with afiiection at the recollection of Ephraim's quiet 
self-abnegation in calmly accepting the inevitable 
and rising to take a double share of watch, and 
roundly resolved that when the next time of trial 
came he should not be found wanting. As it was, 



186 A DUEL IN THE DARK. 

their position was pi*ecarioiis enough, for the footsteps 
drew nearer, and their eyes could catch the gleams 
of a lantern as it swung to and fro, while up from 
the river came the soft splashing of oars, dipped 
gently by careful rowers. 

Nearer and nearer came the lantern, and now by 
its light the anxious watchers could distinguish dimly 
the outlines of half-a-dozen soldiers, who stealthily 
followed their guide. Now and again a beam of 
the lantern light flashed upwards and was reflected 
back from the lixed bayonets of the party, and an 
uncomfortable thrill passed through Lucius as he 
wondered how it would feel to be skewered to the 
ground like a beetle with a pin stuck through it. He 
was rather fond of collecting things, and for the first 
time in his thoughtless existence he realised what 
must be the feelings of the ' buos,' as he called 
them, which he was in the habit of treating so 
unceremoniously. However, he was quite content 
to realise it in imaoination, and havino- no desire to 
experience the sensation in actual fact, kept his place 
as immovably as a statue thrown to the ground. 

The search party was almost abreast of them now, 
keeping pace with the men in the boat, and the two 
lanterns, one flashing upwards, and the other down- 
wards, made a pool of light which came uncom- 
fortably close. 

Another moment of breathless suspense and the 
party had passed by and darkness once more 
swallowed up the trembling watchers. 

But they were not out of danger yet, and Ephraim's 
hand stole out and gripped Luce's shoulder as a soft 
hail came from the river. 



A DUEL IN THE DARK. 187 

'Above there !' 

'Here !' came the muttered reply. 

' This should be about where we heard that splash.' 

' A little farther on, I think.' 

* Forward, then, and keep your eyes open.' 

Tramp ! tramp ! The soft tread was resumed, and 
Ephraim put his mouth close to Luce's ear. 

' They '11 find the cave in anuther minnit,' he 
whispered, 'and when they do, we must move off. 
Thar 's shore ter be a hullaballoo.' 

He was right. In a few minutes more another 
hail arose from the river, this time louder, more 
imperative, more confident. 

'Above there !' 

'Here!' 

' Halt ! Close up towards our light. There 's a 
hole of some sort here. Maybe he is inside.' 

Silence for a little space, and then an exultant shout 
from the bank. 

* What have you found ?' This from the boat. 
'Nothing in the way of a man. But a broken 

branch and a sloppy mess all around.' 

' Hold on till we pull under. If he 's in there, we '11 
soon have him out.' 

' Mind you don't get your head blown ofif.' 

This very probable consequence to the first man 
who should put his head into the mouth of the hole 
caused a corresponding diminution of enthusiasm, 
and low mutterings arose from the boat. 

' Private Storks, stand up in the boat and flash the 
lantern into that hole. — You above there, throw the 
light down as far as possible, and be ready.' 

Great alacrity on the part of those on the bank. 



188 A DUEL IN THE DARK. 

Considerable hanging fire on the side of Private 
Storks. 

' Now then, Storks, look sharp. You 're not afraid, 
are you ? ' 

A muttered disclaimer from the reluctant Storks. 

' Private Flemming/ in a very angry voice, ' lift up 
that lantern and show this fellow Storks what a man 
is made of.' 

A noise of scrambling in the boat, the twinkling of 
the lantern for an instant through the trees. Then 
bang ! and a roar of laughter, followed by a storm of 
angry execrations. Private Flemming, by way of 
showing Private Storks how to be brave, had raised 
the lantern in one hand, his gun in the other, fired 
into the hole in order to make safety sure, and in- 
continently tumbled backwards into the boat to the 
imminent danger of his trusty comrades. 

'Confound you!' shouted the officer in charge. 
' Who told you to fire. You 've given the fellow 
warning now, if he 's not there. Up with you, some 
one, and see if this fool has been firing at a blank 
wall or not.' 

The laughter above ceased at the angry connnand 
of the officer, but long ere it died away, and under 
cover of the friendly noise, the two boys, wriggling 
on their stomachs like a couple of great snakes, had 
put a good fifty yards between themselves and the 
men on the bank. 

'By time!' muttered Ephraim. 'Thet's mighty 
good fun fer them ; but it 's jest ez well you and me 
war out er thar. Luce.' 

They rose to their feet, and moving warily, soon 
passed out of the fringing belt into the open. Then, 



A DUEL IN THE DARK. 189 

at Ephraim's direction, they ran as fast as they 
could, till a multitude of twinkling fires told them 
that the Federal troops lay close upon their left 
hand. 

' Five minnits fer refreshments,' ^Yhispered Ephraim, 
' and then the next act '11 begin. See hyar, Luce, it 's 
all Virginny ter a sour apple thet they've got a 
chain er sentries right across from the camp to the 
river-side. We must dodge 'em. Ef wanst we kin 
git ter the ditch, we '11 be safe — so fur.' 

They stole back just inside the belt of trees, and 
moved on, a step or two at a time. Sure enough, 
presently they could hear the measured tread of a 
sentry as he paced backwards and forwards upon 
his short beat. 

' It won't do to try the countersign just here,' whis- 
pered Lucius. ' It 's too close to the camp.' 

' No,' answered Ephraim. ' We must crawl past 
him, one at a time. You go first. Ef he sees ye, 
thar 's this.' He touched Lucius with the rifle. 

Once again Lucius cast himself down flat upon 
the ground, and progressing by fractions of an inch, 
approached to within a few feet of the sentry. So 
close was he as the man passed him, that by 
stretching out his hand he could have caught him 
by the leg. But the darkness favoured him, though 
it was light enough to see ten paces away, and the 
man walked past unsuspiciously. Before he could 
turn again, Lucius had writhed beyond his beat and 
ensconced himself among the trees, where he waited 
for Ephraim. 

The Grizzly had stood with his finger on the trigger, 
ready to fire if occasion arose ; but now judging that 



190 A DUEL IN THE DARK. 

Lucius must be past the human obstruction, he noise- 
lessly lowered the hammer of his gun and prepared 
to make the effort on his own account. 

It was more difficult for him than for Lucius, 
encumbered as he was with his rifle ; but Fortune 
favours the bold, and in ten minutes' time he found 
himself once more beside his comrade. They waited 
till the sound of footsteps told them that the sentry's 
back was once more turned to them, and then crawled 
farther away. In this way they passed a second and 
a third sentinel, and at length the end of their labours 
presented itself in the shape of the field which they 
had crossed in the afternoon. They dared not rise, 
however, for fear of being seen, and a final crawl of 
nearly a hundred yards had to be accomplished before 
they found the safe retreat of the ditch. 

' Thet 's well,' said Ephraim, contentedly placing his 
back against the side of the ditch and thrusting his 
long legs out in front of him. By the time we git 
ter the end er this, we '11 hev got over a riglit smart 
piece er the way. — How d'ye feel, Luce ?' 

'I 'm all right,' answered Lucius. ' Have a cracker ? 
I 've got a few left.' 

' We may ez well eat 'em,' said the Grizzly, accepting 
his share and beginning to munch ; ' fer it 's pretty 
sartin thet ef we don't breakfast in our own camp 
ter-morrer, we will in the Yanks'. Ef we don't reach 
Stonewall ter-night, we never will.' 

' Come on, then,' urged Lucius. ' Another mile and 
a half ought to take us there.' 

'Right!' said Ephraim, rising to his feet. 'Wait 
a minnit, thouo^h.' Somethinii' clanked in his hand 
as he spoke. 



A DUEL IN THE DARK. 191 

'What's that?' asked Lucius. 'What are you 
doing ?' 

' Fixin' my ba'net/ quoth Ephraim. ' Ye never 
know what '11 happen, and it 's best ter be ready. 
We 've gone along and come safe through up ter now ; 
but wan er my books says somewhar " the darkest 
hour 's before the dawn," and maybe jest ez we think 
we 're safe the bust '11 come.' 

Prophetic words, though Ephraim knew it not. The 
ditch in which they were had been marked by General 
Shields as a possible means of exit for any one lurking 
in the fields, and a thorough search of it had been 
made. This, of course, led to no result, as the boys 
were far away at the time ; but the general's astute- 
ness had not ended there, and a sentry had been 
placed at the end of the ditch remote from the camp — 
that is, nearest the Confederate lines, with definite 
orders to shoot any one issuing out of it if he could 
not give a good account of himself, and that, even 
though he wore the Federal uniform. 

Sharp orders these, and liable to make any Federal 
skulker realise that there were other paths beside 
those of glory which led to the grave. Moreover, 
there was but slender chance that they would be 
disregarded, for the sentry chosen for this special 
duty was a grizzled sergeant, who had smelt powder 
in the Mexican campaign, and by reason of years of 
training on the frontier, was up to every dodge of 
those masters of deceptive strategy, the redskins. 
Small hope, then, that honest Ephraim, with his 
simple cunning, would, notwithstanding his victory 
over the green Captain Hopkins, be able to beat to 
windward of so astute a warrior as Serofeant Mason. 



192 A DUEL IN THE DARK. 

The darkest hour which Ephraim had hinted at was 
at hand. And yet not quite the darkest. 

The ditch down which the boys were travelling 
intersected, as has been said, two fields — that on the 
right, some two hundred yards from the river ; that 
on the left, about four hundred from the wood. These 
two spaces on a line with Sergeant Mason were desti- 
tute of sentries, though four hundred yards behind 
the sergeant, who stood expectant, but unconscious of 
the approach of his prey, ran a double line of pickets, 
right across from river to mountain. These were the 
outposts, and kept their watch almost cheek by jowl 
with Jackson's men, not half a mile beyond. Thus 
the outlet of the ditch had but this solitary defender, 
but in placing Sergeant Mason there, General Shields 
had shown his wisdom ; and, moreover, the alarm of 
the sergeant's rifle, should he see fit to discharge it, 
would within five minutes bring him support from 
a dozen different points. 

Sergeant Mason stood with his rifle resting easily 
in the hollow of his right arm, more in the attitude 
of an expert backwoodsman than in that of a sentry 
on guard, but his keen eyes glanced continually right 
and left over the dim, yet not absolutely dark, meadows, 
or straight ahead into the black funnel that intersected 
them. He had been there three long hours already, 
and was beginning to feel a little out of temper. 
And when Sergeant Mason was out of temper, it boded 
ill for whoever should cross his path at that inaus- 
picious season. 

Suddenly the sergeant started slightly. His quick 
ears, intently strained, had caught a faint sound, as 
of some one moving in the ditch. His ill-humour 



A DUEL IN THE DARK. 193 

vanished, down came his rifle with its sharp bayonet 
to the charge, and he was at once the veteran soldier, 
used to war's alarms, and ready for any emergency. 

He leaned forward striving to pierce the gloom 
of the ditch ; but he could see nothing. Only once 
again that soft rustling sound, as of the wind gently 
blowing over reeds. Then it ceased. 

Ceased so suddenly that the sergeant's suspicions 
were at once redoubled. Evidently it was not the 
wind. But Mason was too old a hand to act rashly, 
so he did not challenge, for fear of scaring his game, 
but waited patiently for the end. 

Again the rustling. • This time surely a little louder, 
a little nearer. The sergeant's heavy moustache 
bristled with anticipation, and his lips parted in a 
cruel smile, as he tightly grasped his rifle. 

Not a sound he made as he stood there, silent and 
stiff" as if carved out of ebony. But he had been seen 
for all that, and even now the boys, crouching low 
in the ditch, were holding a whispered consultation. 

* I think thet he hes heard us. Luce,' said Ephraim, 
' Listen ter me and do jest ez I tell ye. Crawl out er 
the ditch on yer left and make a wide leg ter git 
behind him. Ez soon ez ye start, I '11 up an' face 
him so ez ter cover any noise ye make. Wait fer 
me until I git past him — and I will git past him one 
way or anuther — and when ye hear me run, foller 
ez hard ez ye kin.' 

The first part of this well-laid plan was carried out 
to the letter ; but as to the second — ah ! there Ephraim 
had reckoned without Sergeant Mason. 

Lucius made off as he had been told to do, for after 
what he had seen, his faith in Ephraim's strategic 

M 



194 A DUEL IN THE DARK. 

powers was absolutely nnbounded, and as soon as 
he was clear of the ditch, the Grizzly, with much 
rustling of his feet and a great outward show of 
confidence, advanced towards the outlet of the ditch. 

From his superior height upon the slight embank- 
ment Sergeant Mason looked down and smiled grimly. 
He never suspected the presence of Lucius, wriggling 
along to attain a point behind him. His whole mind 
was intent on the solitary figure, advancing towards 
him. 

'Halt! Who comes there?' he challenged, and 
Ephraim brought up standing, halted within six paces 
of the bayonet's point. 

'Friend !' he answered laconically'. 

'What's your business?' demanded Mason, wishful 
to make sure of his ground and his man. 

' Speshul,' returned Ephraim, also feeling his way. 

' That so ? What m ought be the natur of it ? I 'm 
hyar tew find out, yew know.' 

' Out after a man wearin' a Federal uniform, and 
supposed ter be a rebel spy. Kin I pass ?' 

' I guess so. If yew have the countersign.' 

Alas, poor Grizzly, the fighter of redskins is going 
to be too much for you ! Ephraim advanced a pace 
or two. 

' Halt !' said the sergeant again. ' Is that yewr idee 
of giving the countersign ?' 

' Shenandoah ! ' replied Ephraim boldly, and never 
before had been so near death as at that minute. 

Had Sergeant Mason, smiling grimly behind his 
thick moustache, obeyed orders strictly, he would have 
fired then and there, for the word was not Shenandoah, 
and Ephraim's account of himself had not been good ; 



A DUEL IN THE DARK. 195 

but two reasons restrained Mason. If the man turned 
out to be a brother Federal, he did not wish to have 
his blood upon his hands, skulker though he might 
be in view of the morrow's expected fight; and, 
secondly, if the man were proved to be the rebel 
spy, Mason considered that a capture would redound 
more to his credit than an execution. 

Therefore Sergeant Mason held his hand, and bring- 
ing his rifle up to the port, said briefly : ' Pass, friend !' 

On came Ephraim, his shambling gait and loose- 
jointed frame contrasting ridiculously with the square, 
well-knit, soldierly figure in front of him; but just 
as he had set one foot on the bank to leap out of 
the ditch, being so far at a disadvantage, the sergeant 
suddenly altered his position, and bringing his rifle 
to the low guard, said sharply : ' Surrender, my man. 
You 're my prisoner.' 

On the lookout for surprises, Ephraim's heart yet 
seemed to leap into his mouth at this ; but he was 
quick to act. Jumping back from the steel that 
almost touched his neck, he grasped his own rifle 
with one hand by the breech and with the other by 
the barrel, and before the sergeant could realise his 
intention, rushed madly at him up the bank. 

Their bayonets met with a clash ; but so furious 
was the assault, and so utterly unexpected, that even 
Sergeant Mason, man of iron though he was, gave 
back before it, and Ephraim springing from the ditch, 
found himself, so far at least as the ground went, 
at an equal advantage with his foe. 

For an instant they stood fronting each other, their 
bayonets crossed, and only the space of their rifles 
between them. 



196 A DUEL IN THE DARK. 

The sergeant breathed hard and drew back the 
hammer of his gun. 'Surrender!' he said, 'or you're 
a dead man.' 

Ephraim heard the click, and his answer was another 
rush. Swift as thought he turned his wrist, and by 
sheer force tossed the barrel of the sergeant's rifle in 
the air, just as the latter's finger touched the trigger. 

Bang ! The bullet soared away high over the tops 
of the trees in the wood, and once more the sergeant 
recoiled before his impetuous antagonist. He began 
to wish that he had fired first and made inquiries 
afterwards. 

' Surrender, you fool !' he hissed through his clenched 
teeth ; ' that shot will bring a hundred men down upon 
you.' 

For answer, Ephraim cocked his own rifle and fired. 
There was a slight fizzle as the cap snapped, but no 
report. The various uses to which the rifle had been 
put that day had not improved its quality as a ' shoot- 
ing-iron,' and the powder was thoroughly wet. 

The rifles were the old-fashioned, muzzle-loading 
pattern. There was no time to reload, and like light- 
ning Ephraim rushed forward to renew the attack. 

Then began a battle royal. Sergeant Mason was a 
strong man, and knew the use of his weapon ; but the 
Grizzly was a living instance of the truth of the 
saying, that a man who knows nothing of rule will 
very often puzzle an expert. So it was now, as 
Ephraim, fired with unaccustomed fury, lunged and 
thrust, parried and recovered, or swept his bayonet 
in narrowing circles round his antagonist's head, to 
the utter mystification of Mason, accustomed to the 
one, two, three of the regulations. 



A DUEL IN THE DARK. 197 

Clink ! clank ! rattle ! crash ! The sharp steel met 
and parted, parted and met again. The fighters could 
but just distinguish each other in the gloom, even as 
they stood now with bayonets locked, breathing hard 
in anticipation of the next rally. 

Clank ! The sergeant disengaged, and lunged 
straight and swiftly out. The bayonet passed under 
the Grizzly's left arm ; but he brushed it aside with 
a wild swirl of his rifle, and thrust in return so 
close to the sergeant's heart, that but half an inch 
further would have settled the question for good 
and all. 

Mason sprang backwards just in time, now hotly 
pressed by the furious Grizzly. Here was a foeman 
of a temper he had not bargained for when he made 
that light arrest. 

' Help ! ' he roared at the top of his voice. ' A spy ! 
a spy ! Over hjar by the ditch.' 

Clank ! clank ! clink ! clink ! Fierce thrust and 
sudden parry. Another fiery rally. This time the 
sergeant felt the wind of Ephraim's bayonet past his 
neck, and a hot spurt of breath upon his face, as the 
Grizzly, almost overbalanced by his frenzied rush, 
stumbled forward. 

With a mighty effort he recovered his footing. 
Clink ! clank ! Down swept Mason's glittering steel. 
Another lock. A rapid disengagement ; and, ere 
Ephraira could retreat, the long blade lunged straight 
at his face. 

The Grizzly dodged ; but the sharp point, driven by 
the strong, angry arm behind it, found its way through 
his coat, and ploughed up the muscles of his shoulder. 
The pain drove him wild, and with a roar of rage he 



198 



A DUEL IN THE DARK. 



in upon his foe, careless of his own exposure, 
]-aising- his long rifle by the barrel, brought it 



ran 
and 
smashing down upon the bare, defenceless head. 

Under that frightful stroke Sergeant Mason 
dropped his weapon, reeled from side to side like a 
drunken man, and dropped to earth as one dead. 











CHAPTEK XIII. 




HOW THE DESPATCH WAS BROUGHT TO 
STONEWALL JACKSON. 



sHILE this frightful battle raged, Lucius 
stood some little distance off, in an agony 
of apprehension for the safety of his 
friend. At the first clank of the meeting 
steel he had risen to his feet, and strained his eager 
eyes to see what was about to happen ; but, even 
thouo-h he drew a little nearer, he could distinguish 
nothing clearly. Only in the dusk a pair of tall forms 
dashed from right to left, or bounded from side to side, 
meeting, recoiling, and meeting again. But if he could 
not see, he could hear; and at each jarring clank of the 
clashing bayonets his heart leaped, and his hair rose on 
his head, for he could not believe that Ephraim would 
win the fight. Oh for a gun ! he thought, as he ran 
wildly backwards and forwards, groping along the 
ground, in the hope that he might come upon some 
straggler's discarded piece. All at once he heard 
shouts and the noise of rushing footsteps. From the 
river bank, from the woods, from the pickets behind 
him — from every direction — men were hastening to 
the scene of the conflict. Then that furious cry from 



200 HOW THE DESPATCH WAS BROUGHT. 

the Grizzly, and the dull crash as the sergeant fell 
under his powerful stroke. Finally silence for a 
little space around the combatants. 

Lucius did not know which had fallen : he could just 
see that one was down — that was all — and his fears 
told him that it must be Grizzly. A dull, apathetic 
feeling stole over him. He did not try to move. He 
knew that in a few minutes more he must be a 
prisoner, and he did not care. A mournful voice 
seemed to chant in his ears, slow and solemn as a 
dirge, ' The Grizzly is dead ! the Grizzly is dead ! ' 
And all concern for himself vanished in the presence 
of this overwhelming sorrow. 

Then, as he stood, the sound of the well-known 
voice thrilled him like an electric shock, jarring his 
whole frame with the one pregnant monosyllable, 
' Run ! ' And, without stopping to question or to 
reason, he turned his face and fled. Fled at first 
madly, unthinkingly, right in the teeth of the advanc- 
ing enemy. He had no knowledge of Ephraim's 
whereabouts — whether he was ahead of him or behind 
him. He was alive — that was just enough then — and 
on went Lucius like the wind. 

When two people are running at top speed in the 
same line, but from opposite extremes, it stands to 
reason that, sooner or later, they will meet. And this 
is exactly what happened now. They met, Lucius 
and the leading man of the racing sentinels — met with 
a crash, like two charging footballers — with the result 
that both went down in a heap upon the ground. 

Lucius was the first to recover himself, and the shock 
seemed to clear his brain, so that he realised sharply 
what he was doing in thus throwing himself into the 



HOW THE DESPATCH WAS BROUGHT. 201 

arms of his foes. He was a slow thinker as a rule — 
or, rather, he seldom troubled himself to think at all ; 
but now his plans were formed upon the instant, such 
a stimulus is necessity. 

Tearing himself free from the man upon the ground, 
he leaped to his feet, and running a few paces, still 
towards the advancing crowd, wheeled round suddenly, 
and with a loud shout of ' This way ! Over here ! ' 
rushed back by the way he had come, only at a much 
slower pace. 

Fortunate it was for him that it was so dark. 
Guided by his voice, the soldiers hurried after him, 
surrounded him, noted him running in their midst in 
the same direction as themselves, and — passed him by. 

Still Lucius held on, slowing down at every stride, 
till the last man of the supports, puffing and blowing, 
shot ahead of him, and then he turned in his tracks 
once more, and sped like a deer towards the Con- 
federate lines. 

He took a diagonal path, making by instinct for the 
corner of the wood, which more than once that day 
had been their means of salvation, and reaching it 
after a tearing run of nearly a mile, plunged just 
inside its border and flung himself face downwards to 
recover his wind. 

All at once, as he lay, a sharp pang shot through 
him. The Grizzly ! Where was he ? Was he, too, 
running for his life in the open ? Had he reached the 
wood ? Or, bitter thought, had he been captured after 
all ? The bare possibility stung Lucius into action, 
and he leaped again to his feet, glaring wildly round 
him in the dark. 

What would they do with him if he were taken ? 



202 HOW THE DESPATCH WAS BROUGHT. 

Would they shoot him then and there ? Or would 
they take him back to the camp, and after a mere 
formality of a trial, hang him like a dog ? Lucius 
strained his ears until they pained him, listening for 
the fatal shot. But he heard nothing, ' Oh, Grizzly,' 
he thought bitterly, ' if you are taken, if you are shot, 
and I have run away and left you to your fate !' 

He was hardly fair to himself in his sharj) self- 
upbraiding. To run had been the Grizzly's own com- 
mand, and he had obeyed implicitly. He began to 
take a little comfort. Perhaps they had only missed 
one another in the dark. Perhaps the Grizzly was 
even now in safety, waiting opportunity to make a 
dash for the Confederate lines. He would go on. 
Then again the cruel thought, ' What if he be a captive 
while I am free ?' ' Go on and save yourself, at all 
events,' whispered self-preservation. 'It is what he 
himself would have you do.' 

'And just because it is what he would have me do,' 
answered the spirit of manliness in the boy's breast, 
' I will not do it. I will go back and find him, if I 
have to march right into the Federal camp.' 

He was almost beside himself with pain and grief, 
but the one idea took possession of him, and in his 
brain the words repeated themselves over and over 
again : ' Go back and find him .' Go back and find 
him !' 

' Oh, if I had but a gun !' he sighed, ' I would make 
somebody pay for this.' 

His hands struck against his cartridge belt, ' Pah !' 
he said in disgust, opening the pouch. ' What is the 
use of you without a gun V Then a gasp of astonish- 
ment escaped him. His fingers, idly groping in the 



HOW THE DESPATCH WAS BROUGHT. 203 

pouch, had encountered a piece of folded paper — two 
pieces. 

For a moment he could not understand it, and then 
the meaning flashed across him, and everything became 
clear. In the dark of the cave he had picked up and 
assumed Ephraim's belt instead of his own. The papers 
were General Shields's despatch to General Fremont, 
and the written order to Colonel Spriggs regarding the 
escaped prisoners. 

Luce's first feeling was one of joy that, even if the 
Grizzly were taken, at all events nothing compromising 
would be found upon him. His second, a wild impulse 
to fling away the despatch, and rid himself of its 
dangerous companionship. But something restrained 
him in the very act, and the thought crossed him : 
' The fate of an army may depend upon that paper, 
and that army your own. You must carry it to 
General Jackson.' 

Poor Lucius ! He was on the horns of a dreadful 
dilemma. If he were caught with that paper upon 
him, it would be short shrift, he knew, and few ques- 
tions asked. Yet if he did not deliver it, the con- 
sequences to the Confederates might be fearfully 
disastrous. And yet again, if he did attempt to carry 
it through, he must turn his back upon his friend, 
presuming him to be a prisoner, and after the thoughts 
of self-preservation in which he had indulged, how 
could he do that without laying himself open to the 
charge of grasping an excuse to ensure his own safety 
by an attempt to reach the Confederate lines ? 

He wrung his hands together in the extremity of 
his despair. Which was the right thing to do ? Who 
would help him in this desperate strait ? 



204 HOW THE DESPATCH WAS BROUGHT. 

He leaned against a tree, his head throbbing and 
his whole mind bewildered in the presence of the most 
serious problem he had ever had to face. Then once 
again came to him one of those mysterious, silent 
promptings, so frequent in the last anguished quarter 
of an hour. And this time it was as if Ephraim spoke : 
' Do yer duty, Luce, and never mind me.' 

'I will,' he cried aloud, dashing the tears from his 
eyes. ' I will. But I '11 come back and find you after- 
wards. Grizzly, if I die for it !' 

He braced himself up to consider the best means to 
carry out his dual resolve. He knew very well that, 
no matter how many men might have been detached 
to the aid of the sentry at the ditch, the Federal out- 
posts would still remain in their place, with beyond 
them the last line of sentinels on the side of Jackson's 
army. To reach his goal he must first pass this 
obstacle, and he realised that in the ferment raised by 
the present crisis, the time for further stratagem had 
passed, and that his only hope lay in making a rush 
for it. 

A sense of uneasiness was everywhere, and the out- 
posts were especially alert. Not only had the rumour 
spread of the presence in camp and subsequent escape 
therefrom of a supposed rebel spy, but there was a 
pretty well defined feeling that the morrow would not 
pass without an attack on the part of Jackson, though 
exactly how or where the blow would be delivered, no 
man could say. Therefore the outposts kept even 
stricter watch than usual, ready at the first sign of 
the advance of the enemy to give the alarm and fall 
back upon the camp, where, on that night, the Federal 
soldiers lay on their arms. 



HOW THE DESPATCH WAS BROUGHT. 205 

The uneasy feeling was justified by what was hap- 
pening in the Confederate camp. The night had 
descended upon another Federal repulse. The veteran 
Ewell had hurled back Fremont at Cross Keys, and 
driven him from the field after a long and desperate 
conflict. Then, when the darkness put a stop to the 
operations, Jackson recalled the troops of Ewell, and 
leaving a strong rearguard in front of Fremont, 
returned to Port Republic. Here he hastily constructed 
a foot-bridge, by means of wagons placed end to end, 
over the south fork of the Shenandoah, and gave 
orders that at dawn his infantry were to cross and 
try conclusions with Shields at Lewiston. He then 
retired to snatch a few hours of well-earned repose. 
Shields, meanwhile, had managed to get a second de- 
spatch conveyed to Fremont, laying before him a plan 
of operations which differed little from those set forth 
in the lost despatch ; for as Ephraim had shrewdly 
surmised, there was but scant time to alter the dis- 
position of an entire army ; and, moreover. Shields, 
sanguine to the last, could not bring himself to believe 
that, from a camp so strongly guarded, the spy had 
really been able to make good his escape. He was 
convinced that if accident did not deliver the bold 
rebel into his hands during the night, his capture 
would certainly be accomplished in the morning. That 
there were two people concerned in this escapade he 
had never fully realised, and that the despatch had 
passed from one hand to another, he never even 
dreamed. 

Fully alive to the dangers of the situation, Lucius 
moved cautiously along, feeling the edge of the wood 
lest he should lose himself in its gloomy depths, and 



206 HOW THE DESPATCH WAS BROUGHT. 

every moment drawing nearer to the Federal outposts. 
A white glow on the hill-tops warned him that the 
moon was rising, and he prayed earnestly that the 
clouds which were driving across the sky would form 
up and shut behind them the silver light which would 
make the difficulties of his perilous advance so much 
greater. 

Suddenl}'- he pulled up short. Not far away he 
heard a sound, a suppressed cough. There it was 
again, its owner evidently doing his best to stifle it. 
Lucius surmised clearly enough from whom the sound 
proceeded. It was one of the communicating sentries 
between the outposts and their reserves. He felt 
rather than heard that the man was M^alking in his 
direction, and with the painful thought troubling him, 
' What if I were to cough or sneeze ?' drew close behind 
a tree to wait till he had passed by. Standing 
there, he heard another sound — the measured tramp 
of feet, as if a body of men were stealthily approaching 
him. The sentry heard it too, for he halted a few 
paces from Lucius and prepared to act. 

'Halt!' he challenged in a guarded voice, at the 
same time brin£fin2j his rifle to the charcje. ' Who 
comes there ?' 

' Patrol ! ' was the reply, also given in an under- 
tone. 

' Stand, patrol ! Advance one and give the counter- 
sign !' 

Some one stepped forward to the point of the 
sentry's bayonet, and answered in a tone so low as to 
be almost a whisper : ' Winchester !' 

' So,' thought Lucius, who caught the word, ' the 
countersign has been changed. That is how Grizzly 



HOW THE DESPATCH WAS BROUGHT. 207 

came to be stopped at the ditch. Well, it won't do nie 
any good, for I dare not try it on now.' 

'Pass, patrol! All's well!' said the sentry, still 
keeping his rifle at the charge. 

The patrol moved on, the officer in charge turning 
back to inquire : ' Any sign of the spy ? ' 

' No, sir,' replied the sentry, and Luce's heart thrilled 
with joy at the word. 

Presently the sentry resumed his beat, and Lucius 
slipped past and continued his heedful advance. The 
most difficult part of his work lay before him, for the 
outposts were in strength, and their advanced sentries 
had also to be negotiated. Still he thouirht that, once 
past the outposts, he would be able to show the sentinels 
a clean pair of heels. But there was one thing on 
which he had not reckoned, and presently he came 
upon a sight which took his breath away. A line of 
light lay right across his path — the bivouac fires of 
the pickets. 

They extended as far as he could see on either hand, 
and the boy's heart sank within him as he wondered 
how he should pass across that line of radiant light 
without being discovered. However, on closer investi- 
gation, he saw to his intense relief that, though the 
fires were not very far apart, yet between each was a 
dark space, and through one of these he trusted to be 
able to slip. Moreover, he noted that, while most of 
the men were lying down, some few were standing up 
or walking about, and so was led to hope that his 
upright figure, if observed at all, would not attract 
attention. 

There was no help for it — it had to be done; so draw- 
inof a loner breath he set his teeth hard, and makinsf 



208 HOW THE DESPATCH WAS BROUGHT. 

carefully for the dark path between two of the fires, 
advanced with firm and deliberate step. 

Some one spoke to him as he came on. He did not 
hear the question, but he was conscious of returning 
an answer of some sort, though a moment afterwards 
he could not have told what he had said. 

He reached the coveted path between the two fires, 
and again a soldier who was reclining by one of them 
hailed him. 

' That yew, Dick V asked the man. ' Why can't yew 
keep still ? I believe yew 're a funk.' 

Lucius spared a thought to bless the restless Dick, 
and strode on. 

' Dick,' said the man again, ' did yew hear that ? — 
Why, Dick ! Look at him ! By ' 

For Lucius had passed beyond the line, and casting 
all idea of further concealment to the winds, leaped 
forward like a startled hare. 

In a moment all was bustle and confusion. The 
pickets sprang to arms, orders were shouted in rapid 
succession, and twenty men darted upon the track of 
the fugitive, while the advance sentries, hearing the 
commotion, stopped on their beat, eagerly waiting the 
explanation of the unusual disturbance, which, so far 
as they were concerned, seemed to come from the 
wrong quarter. 

The very energy of the pursuit saved Lucius; for 
sentries, pursuers, and pursued were all mixed up in 
one inextricable tangle in the darkness, and the 
noise the soldiers made in following him of itself 
prevented them from getting any clear idea of his 
whereabouts. 

On he dashed. Shots were fired here and there at 



HOW THE DESPATCH WAS BROUGHT. 209 

random ; but if any one was hit it was not Lucius, 
and in less than five minutes he plumped into the 
middle of a Confederate picket, under arms, and ready 
for an affair of outposts, if that were what the noise 
presaged. 

'I surrender! I surrender!' panted Lucius. 'Take 
me prisoner ! Quick ! ' 

'I reckon ef thet 's what ye've come fer, ye 've got 
yer way,' said a Confederate soldier gruffly, at the 
same time seizing him by the arm. ' Air thar enny 
more er you uns on the road ?' 

'No,' gasped Lucius; 'there's only me. Take me to 
the General. Quick ! Oh, do be quick ! ' 

' Take ye to the Ginrul ! Thet 's good ! Ho ! ho ! ' 
The men around broke into loud laughter ; but an 
officer, coming up at that moment, sternly ordered 
silence, and raising a lantern to look at Lucius, 
demanded who he was, and what he meant by run- 
ning into them like that. 

' I want to see the General,' repeated Lucius, who 
just then could think of nothing else to say. 

' State your business to me,' said the officer. ' I will 
be the judge as to whether it is of sufficient import- 
ance to justify the granting of your request. Are j'ou 
a deserter from the enemy ? Do you bring news of 
his movements ? ' 

' No — yes,' replied Lucius hurriedly. ' I mean I am 
not a deserter, but I bring important news.' 

' If you are not a deserter, what do you mean by 
wearing that uniform ? Explain yourself.' 

' Captain,' answered Lucius earnestly, ' believe me, I 
am telling the truth. I found this uniform, and put it 
on to disguise myself. I have a despatch from General 

N 



210 HOW THE DESPATCH WAS BROUGHT. 

Shields to General Fremont, and I will give it to the 
General, if you will take me to him.' 

' Give it to me,' urged the captain, holding out his 
hand. Lucius hesitated. If he gave up the despatch 
and then asked leave to return, the captain would 
become suspicious of a trick, and perhaps detain him 
there till the rounds passed by, and so valuable time 
would be lost. He felt that his only resource lay in 
an appeal to some one in authority who would grant 
him the required permission, and the memory of 
Jackson's face at Staunton on that last Sunday sug- 
gested that the appeal should be made to him, and 
him alone. ' He will understand me,' thought Lucius ; 
' these other fellows will not.' Aloud he said : ' Cap- 
tain, I 've gone through a good deal — in fact, I 've 
risked my life — to bring that despatch here, and I 
beseech you to let me give it to the General with my 
own hands. More depends upon it than you think.' 

The captain considered. The earnest pleading moved 
him. ' Who are you ? ' he asked at length. 

' I belong to Staunton,' answered Lucius. ' My 
fa I have a relative in this army.' 

' Who may that be ? ' inquired the captain, for it was 
no uncommon thing for different members of a family 
to be fighting on opposite sides of the line. 

' I 'd rather not say,' answered Lucius. ' Oh, captain, 
let me go. I am sure that the General will tell you 
you have done right if you do.' 

' Corporal,' said the captain, after another moment's 
reflection, ' take this fellow to headquarters. Report 
the affair to the adjutant, and hear what he has to 
say.' 

Lucius thanked him gratefully, and presently started 




A candle was burning on a table by the window. 



HOW THE DESPATCH WAS BROUGHT. 213 

for the village between two men, the corporal leading 
the way. 

' Hi ! ' shouted the captain after him. ' Was there 
any sign of movement on the part of the enemy when 
you left ? ' 

' No,' answered Lucius ; ' all was quiet. It was me 
they were after.' 

To all the numerous questions of the corporal, as 
they marched along, he maintained a rigid silence, and 
at last they reached the house where General Jackson 
had taken up his quarters for the night. 

Leaving Lucius in charge of the two soldiers, the 
corporal slipped past the sentry and rapped up the 
adjutant-general, who occupied a room in the same 
house, and who at once rose and came down-stairs on 
hearinof what was the matter. 

To him Lucius repeated his story, winding up with 
a supplication that he might be allowed to give his 
messao-e to the General himself. 

'Corporal, remain on guard here. — You, fellow, follow 
me,' said the adjutant. 

The corporal saluted, and Lucius, his heart thump- 
ing with excitement, followed his guide upstairs. 

The adjutant paused at a door and knocked softly. 
As there was no reply, he turned the handle, and 
entered the room with Lucius at his heels. 

A candle was burning on a table by the window, 
and by its light Lucius discerned the figure of an 
officer, fully dressed, even to his sword and jack-boots, 
lying face downwards across the bed. He stirred 
uneasily at the noise, turned over, and then sat up, 
yawning and rubbing his eyes. It was General 
Jackson. 



214 HOW THE DESPATCH WAS BROUGHT. 

' Pendleton ! ' he exclaimed, starting from the bed 
and standing erect upon the floor. ' You ! What is 
the matter ? ' 

'AH is quiet, General; and I would not have ven- 
tured to disturb you ; but this fellow here avers that 
he brings important news of the enemy, which he will 
communicate to no one but you. So far as I can 
judge, he is telling the truth, so I brought him up.' 

'What is your news?' asked Jackson quietly of 
Lucius. 

Lucius glanced at the adjutant. It was possible 
that if he heard the story he might throw his influence 
into the scale against a return to the Federal camp. 
It would be easier, he thought, to manage General 
Jackson alone. So he answered : * I would rather speak 
to you alone, General.' 

' Leave us, Pendleton,' said the General. 

'But, sir,' protested the adjutant, 'I — he' He 

made a step forward and ran his hands all over Lucius 
to see if by any chance he carried hidden weapons- 
Finding none, he saluted and withdrew. 

Jackson smiled at his subordinate's excess of caution, 
and turninof to Lucius, addressed him again with : 
' Now then, my man, what is your news ? Out with it.* 

Lucius drew a breath of relief. The General did not 
recognise him, which was scarcely wonderful, for they 
had met but once, and then Lucius had presented a 
very different appearance. 

He made no verbal answer, but drawing the soiled 
and crumpled despatch from his pouch, handed it 
silently to the General. Equally in silence Jackson 
received the package, and withdrawing to the table, 
sat down to examine it. No sooner had he read the 



HOW THE DESPATCH WAS BROUGHT, 215 

superscription than he glanced sharply round at 
Lucius, but restraining himself, broke open the envelope 
and began to peruse the contents. He smiled as he 
read on, for the plans of Shields were so exactly what he 
had hoped and even prognosticated they would be. 
He did not look up again, though, until he had finished 
his scrutiny of the document. Then he rose, and 
holding the paper in one hand, laid the fore-finger of 
the other upon it, and fixing his keen blue eyes upon 
Lucius as if he would read his very heart, asked 
sharply : ' How did you come by this ?' 

Lucius was prepared for the question. While the 
General had been busied with the despatch, he had 
been debating with himself how to explain his position. 
He was sharp enough to know that if once his identity 
with Lucius Markham were revealed, all hope of being 
able to rejoin Ephraim would be at an end. His one 
chance lay in allowing the general to suppose him 
an ordinary citizen of the valley. He concluded, there- 
fore, that while suppi-essing his name, his best and 
wisest course would be to furnish a plain and simple 
statement of facts. So he answered at once : 

' I will tell you. General. Early this morning my 
companion and myself — both of us live in the valley — 
were taken prisoners by a number of Federal stragglers. 
We were roughly handled, but escaped, and concealed 
ourselves in the wood between this and Lewiston. 
There we found two dead Federal soldiers, and disguised 
ourselves in their uniforms. Presently we were seen 
and forced to march to the attack upon the bridge 
this morning. When the Yankees ran away, we were 
obliged to run with them, and once more took refuge 
in a hut in the wood. While there we overheard a 



216 HOW THE DESPATCH WAS BROUGHT. 

conversation of General Shields with a Federal scout, 
and determined to try and intercept the despatches 
he carried. We were successful, and tried to get up 
the river in the spy's own boat, but as we had no 
oars, the current carried us down, and we only got 
ashore after a great deal of trouble. We were getting 
along all rioht, when we were challenoed. There was 
a fight in which my companion got the best of the 
sentry, and then we broke and ran, and lost each other. 
I had the despatch in my pouch, and came on with 
it at once. I was nearly caught at the last post.' 

Jackson listened in silence to Luce's explanation, 
and when he had finished, remarked drily: * That sounds 
a very plausible story ; but how am I to know that it 
is a true one ?' 

Lucius flushed through the dirt which encrusted his 
cheeks. He was about to reply in his usual haughty 
and imperious style, but remembering his assumed 
character in time, choked back the words and said 
instead : ' You have only my word for it, General, of 
course ; but the despatch itself is a proof of what I 
have told you.' 

' Not at all,' was the unexpected retort ; ' for even 
that may not be genuine. The whole thing, including 
your assumption of the Federal uniform, may be merely 
a device to impose upon my credulity and lead me into 
a trap.' 

At this Lucius was so completely taken aback that 
for a moment or two he had nothing to sa.j. Then, 
as Jackson regarded him with his shrewd, dry smile, 
he burst out passionately : ' General, we have risked 
our lives all along the line to bring you that despatch. 
One of us is, for all I know, a prisoner, or perhaps 



HOW THE DESPATCH WAS BROUGHT. 217 

dead. We could have got away easily enough by 
simply stopping in our hiding-place if we had not 
tried to do you this service. If you don't believe 
me, I can't help it; but I declare upon my honour 
as a Southerner that I have told you the truth.' 

The last words came out with so proud a ring 
that Stonewall eyed him curiously. 

' Who are you ?' he demanded by way of reply. 

' I live in the valley/ answered Lucius vaguely. 
' So does my chum. — Oh, sir, sir/ he broke off wildl}', 
' do believe me and let me go ! They may be killing 
him even now.' 

Jackson started in astonishment, and took a step 
forward. 'You don't ask me to believe,' he said, 
' that you contemplate returning to the Federal lines 
to look for him ?' 

' I do, I do !' cried Lucius. ' Why should I not ? 
Twice or thrice already to-day he would have given 
his life to save mine. How can I desert him now ? 
It would be too base.' 

The utter simplicity of the thing carried its own 
conviction with it. No professional trickster would 
delude himself into the belief that, coming from 
the Federal lines, he Avould be at once allowed to 
return there on the strength of his own story. The 
genuine emotion of the young man, as he supposed 
him to be, went straight to Jackson's warm heart. 

' Do not distress yourself, my young friend/ he said 
kindly ; ' I believe you. But as regards your comrade, 
what do you imagine you can effect by going back ?' 

' This,' answered Lucius, as the recollection of 
the hut in the forest came to him like an inspiration : 
'if he has not been taken, and has not been able to 



218 HOW THE DESPATCH WAS BROUGHT. 

break through their line, I know where he will go 
to look for me. I will go there. I can find out 
that way whether he is dead or a prisoner, or alive 
and free.' 

' No,' answered Jackson ; * for he might reach our 
lines just while you were looking for him. You could 
do no good, and for your own sake, if for no other 
reason, I cannot allow you to return. I do not suspect 
your honesty,' as Lucius made a passionate gesture ; 
' but it would serve no useful purpose. To-morrow, if 
God blesses our arms as He has hitherto done, we 
shall sweep Shields from the field, and your comrade, 
if he has not managed to escape, may be recovered 
in the struggle. At the worst he will be sent north 
with other prisoners, and exchanged in due course.' 

' Oh, but you are forgetting that he is a civilian,' 
urged Lucius, ' and that if they find out that he took 
the despatch, they will kill him for it.' His voice 
trembled so that he could hardly enunciate the 
words. 

* They would serve you the same way if they got 
hold of you,' answered Jackson. 

'But they shall not get hold of me. General,' said 
Lucius. ' I know their word, I wear their uniform, 
and I know the way. Once I get to the wood I 
shall be all right. Besides,' he added cunningly, ' as 
soon as I have found out what has become of him, 
I will return and give you fresh information about 
the troops — all I can collect.' 

' My scouts are out already,' answered Jackson, ' and 
there is little likelihood that you would be able to 
accomplish more than they will with their trained 
powers of observation.' 



HOW THE DESPATCH WAS BROUGHT. 219 

' Have they brought you a despatch like that ?' asked 
Lucius, with a certain pride in his voice. 

' A fair hit,' returned Jackson, smiling. ' No ; but I 
may tell you that the information I have received 
through them tallies exactly with the contents of the 
despatch, which is perhaps fortunate for you. So you 
see that you have but confirmed the knowledge I 
already possess. In saying that, I do not wish to 
underrate the value of the service you have performed. 
If you were a soldier, I should know how to reward 
you. As it is ' 

' General,' broke in Lucius, * I never thought of 
reward. Something told me it was my duty, and I 
tried to do it. But if I have really been of service, 
give me leave to go back. That is all I ask. — Oh, 
General, if you knew what friends we are ! If you 
knew what he has done for me ! And I stand here 

talking while perhaps he Oh, General, let me go ! 

let me go !' He sprang forwards with clasped hands, 
his chest heaving, his breath coming and going in 
quick, short gasps, while great tears, which only pride 
kept from falling, rose in his eyes. 

' You are a devoted friend, young man,' said Jackson, 
moved by his passionate appeal. ' If I thought you 

could do any good You know the country?' he 

broke off, 

' Oh yes, yes,' cried Lucius. ' That part of it, at 
least. Haven't I been running around there all day ?' 

' When you broke away from the sentry who stopped 
you, and took to flight, I suppose you would both be 
likely to take the same direction ?' queried General 
Jackson. 

'I imagine so,' answered Lucius. 'Why?' 



220 HOW THE DESPATCH WAS BROUGHT. 

'Because if your friend succeeded in making our 
lines, he would most likely enter them at or near the 
point that you did. Come,' he added kindly ; ' to 
relieve your anxiety, we will go together and make 
inquiries.' 

He caught up his hat, and beckoning Lucius to follow 
him, strode out of the room. 

Outside, the adjutant-general was anxiously awaiting 
him, and Jackson stopped a moment to whisper a few 
instructions. 

* Tell them to meet me here in three-quarters of an 
hour,' he concluded. — ' Now, young man, come with 
me.' 

They walked on for some distance in silence ; but at 
last Lucius said shyly : ' I beg your pardon, General, 
but we could hear the firing as we lay in the woods. 
Would you mind telling me whether you whipped 
Fremont to-day, or yesterday, for I don't know what 
the time is ?' 

' By the blessing of God we were victorious,' answered 
Jackson devoutly. 

' Hurrah ! ' cried Lucius. ' We were certain you 
would be. It will be the same to-day, or to-morrow, 
or whenever it is. Oh, General, when we stood among 
the Yanks this morning and watched you on the hill 
when our fellows carried the bridge, we felt we 
wouldn't mind being killed, so long as our side won. 
It was glorious !' 

' You ought to have been soldiers, you two,' said 
Jackson, laughing at his enthusiasm ; * but I suppose 
you prefer your ploughs and harrows. Farmers, aren't 
you V 

' Oh, well, some one must look after the crops, I 



HOW THE DESPATCH WAS BROUGHT. 221 

suppose/ answered Lucius evasively, glad of this 
loophole to escape the inconvenient question of 
identity. 

' Quite so,' admitted the General with a sigh ; ' but I 
fear that before long you will have to beat your 
ploughshares into swords, for we shall need all the 
stout hearts and strong arms we can muster in the 
trouble that is coming upon us.' 

' You shan't have to wait long for me,' exclaimed 
Lucius fervently. ' Once I get home again, nothing 
shall keep me from joining, and so I '11 tell them.' 

' Halt ! Who comes there ?' 

It was a sentry on the inner line of pickets who 
challenged them, and as in answer to the General's 
question he reported all well, they passed beyond him 
and hurried towards the outposts. 

Here, too, all was quiet. There had been no further 
scare, and presently they reached the picket in charge 
of the captain who had forwarded Lucius to head- 
quarters. He saluted the General, and glancing in 
some surprise at Lucius, whom he recognised, observed 
that he hoped he had been right in what he had done. 

'Perfectly,' returned Jackson. 'No one else has 
come in since this young man, I suppose ?' 

' Only one of our scouts, sir,' replied the captain. 
' He is on his way to you now. He reported a scrim- 
mage somewhere between this and Lewiston. He 
couldn't tell what it was about ; but there was a great 
fuss, and some one, he presumed a prisoner, was being- 
taken to the Federal camp. He was unable to ascertain 
whether it was one of his brother scouts or not.' 

At this doleful communication, Lucius felt his heart 
leap, and like lightning a plan flashed through his 



222 HOW THE DESPATCH WAS BROUGHT. 

brain. He sprang to Jackson's side, and caught his 
hand in both his own. 

' General,' he cried in piercing tones, ' that must have 
been my friend. I am sure of it. I will go, if I die 
for it. Do you remember you spoke to me in Staunton 
that Sunday ? I am Lucius Markham. If I never 
come back, tell my father it was I who brought in 
the despatch.' And before the astonished General could 
move a finger to stop him, he had darted away and 
sprung beyond the outpost. 

' Stop him ! Fire on him !' shouted the captain, who 
was very far from comprehending the meaning of the 
scene. 

'Order arms!' commanded the General loudly, as 
some of the soldiers levelled their guns at the rapidly 
disappearing Lucius. ' Let him go. You will never 
catch him now. No pursuit, captain. Good-night.' 
He turned away and walked quickly back to his 
quarters. 'Lucius Markham !' he muttered to himself 
as he hurried along. ' Well, somehow I thought I 
knew his face. The plucky little rascal ! I remember 
he was burning to be allowed to join. What with his 
dirt and his bandages, he looked so much older that it 
is no wonder I did not recognise him. Who is this 
friend of his, and what have they been up to between 
them ? Well, well, I can do nothing but pray that no 
evil may befall him, for his father's sake. He is in 
the hand of God. I can do nothing — nothing.' 

A solitary shot from the direction of the Federal 
outposts. General Jackson stopped and listened 
anxiously. Then as all was still, he shook his head 
sadly, and turning once more upon his heel, went 
slowly on. 







CHAPTER XIV. 



GRIZZLY IN THE TOILS. 



"^Iv^ PHRAIM was not long in following out his 
I' w^ own recommendation to Lucius, but unfor- 
/ ==^%^ tunately, instead of bearing away to the left, 
'ki/.fe^ he took a straighter line, and before he 
had gone fifty yards, found himself surrounded by 
a dozen men, who had approached the scene of con- 
flict wnth more caution and less noise than their 
fellow-soldiers. The Grizzly, indeed, was among them 
before he was aware of their presence, and ere he 
could attempt to resist or break through the circle, 
was firmly seized and held fast. 

* I guess we Ve got some one,' said a rough voice. 
' Who may yew be, and whar air yew running to ?' 

Ephraim did not answer at once. His first thoughts, 
as usual, were of Lucius, and he was listening intently 
for any sign which might indicate his capture. Pres- 
ently he heard the boy's voice shouting misleading 
directions as he practised his simple ruse de guerre, 
and once more at rest upon this point, gave attention 
to the question, wliich was now repeated in a more 
peremptory tone. 

'Waal,' answered Ephraim slowly, feeling, as it 



224 GRIZZLY IN THE TOILS. 

were, for his words, ' I heard a fuss, and I was runnin' 
to see what the trouble was.' 

' I reckon yew must have an outrageous fine bump 
of locality,' said another man sneeringly, ' seeing that 
yew 're making tracks in a teetotally wrong direction. 
— Hi ! Pete, hurry up with the lantern, and let 's have 
a look at this coon.' 

'Ef I don't keep a level head,' thought Ephraim, 
as he heard this, ' I 'm a goner, shore. Waal, it 
don't matter much, ez long ez Luce is safe, and I 
reckon he is, so fur, fer I don't hear any row. — Oh ! 
Ugh!' 

The expression of pain was wrung from him as the 
grasp of one of his captors tightened upon his wounded 
shoulder. 

'What's the matter with yew ?' inquired the man. 
' My land ! My hand is all wet. So 's his shoulder. 
Quick with the light ! Why, it 's blood ! I guess, 
corporal, he war running /rom the trouble, not towards 
it. No wonder he war in sech a hurry.' 

The corporal stepped up and examined Ephraim's 
torn coat and lacerated shoulder by the light of the 
lantern. 

'Humph!' he ejaculated. 'A nasty rake, and a 
fresh wound, too. How did you come by this ?' 

* I reckon something must hev struck me,' returned 
Ephraim, as though he were now receiving news of 
his wound for the first time. 'Thar's sech a heap er 
things flying around these days, ye can't tell whar 
they come from or whar they go ter.' 

' This is no bullet wound, though,' said the corporal, 
examining it again. ' It 's been done by a bayonet. — 
Come, you, tell us what happened. Did you meet 



GRIZZLY IN THE TOILS. 225 

the Reb ?' For he noted that Ephraim was clad in 
the Federal blue. 

'I 'magine it must hev been suthin' er thet sort/ 
replied Ephraim cautiously. ' Enny way, I run up 
agin suthin' or somebodj^ and thet 's the fact.' 

'Where did it happen ?' asked the corporal. 

' Somewhar round. It mought hev been hyar and 
it mought hev been thar. I can't ezackly say.' 

'Did your assailant bolt after wounding you?' was 
the corporal's next question. 

' I didn't stop ter see,' began Ephraim, when a loud 
shout close by announced that the question had received 
a practical answer by the discovery of the body of 
Sergeant Mason. 

' Hi ! Help !' shouted a voice. ' Thar 's a dead soldier 
over hyar. No, he ain't dead ; but he 's got it pretty 
bad. Help !' 

The corporal rushed in the direction of the hail, 
and the soldiers hurried Ephraim after him. Presently 
they came to the scene of the late scrimmage, where 
the sergeant still lay upon his back, moaning faintly. 

' Why, if it isn't Sergeant Mason ! ' cried the corporal, 
bending over the prostrate man. — 'Did you do this?' 
he demanded fiercely, straightening up and facing 
Ephraim. 

The Grizzly recognised that further concealment was 
useless, so he answered firmly : ' It war in fair fight, 
corporal. I reckon ef it hadn't been him lyin' thar, 
it would hev been me, so maybe it 's ez well ez it is.' 

' Then I guess you 're the man we want,' cried the 
corporal. — ' Boys, this is the pesky Secesh, what 's 
given so much trouble to-day, going round in Federal 
uniform. I bet it is. — We've got you now, Johnny 

o 



226 GRIZZLY IN THE TOILS. 

Reb, so you may as well own up. Who are you, any 
how ?' 

* I reckon you make me tired with your questions,' 
answered Ephraim. ' I shan't answer no more. Ye 
ain't the provost-marshal, air ye ?' 

' Ho ! it' it 's him you want to see,' mocked the 
corporal, ' I guess we won't be long gratifjang jouv 
desires. — Hey, boys ?' 

A low muttering among the men swelled suddenlj'- 
into a shout, and there was an ugly rush in the 
direction of Ephraim. The corporal threw himself 
in the way of it. 

' No, no, boys,' he cried. ' I guess his time is short 
enough without your cutting it shorter. Besides, fair's 
fair, and the fellow that could get the best of Sergeant 
Mason in a tussle must be a stark fighter and a pretty 
average kind of a man. Let him take his chance 
with the provost-marshal. I reckon it 's his business, 
not ours.' 

The men, appealed to in this soldierly fashion, fell 
back, and at the corporal's direction four of them 
raised the fallen Sergeant Mason and started for the 
camp, bearing him between them. 

' Now, you/ said the corporal, ' since you 're in such 
a hurry, step out, and we '11 call on your friend the 
provost-marshal. I shouldn't wonder if he was wait- 
ing up to receive you. — Fetch him along, boys.' 

' Corporal,' asked the Grizzly in a weak voice, ' kin 

I hev a drink er water ? I ' The words failed 

on his lips, he staggered and would have fallen, 
but for the supporting arms of the two men who 
held him. 

'My land!' exclaimed the corporal. 'I'd forgotten 



GRTZZLA' IN THE TOILS. 227 

his wound. Laj'' him down on the ground. — Hyar, 
drink this. We may be Yankees, Johnny Reb ; but 
we are not brutes by a good deal.' He held his canteen 
to Ephraim's lips, and when the latter had satisfied 
his thirst, rapidly cut away his coat and made a fresh 
examination of the wound. 

' There/ he said, arranging his own handkerchief as 
a pad over the gash, and binding it in its place with 
another which one of the men handed to him — 'you'll 
do now till the surgeon can get his paws on you. 
It 's only a scratch, though it 's a pretty deep one. 
Feel better ?' 

' I 'm obleeged ter ye,' said Grizzly, sitting up. ' I 'm 
all right agen now. It war water I wanted. — No,' 
as he rose to his feet, 'ye needn't carry me. I kin 
walk well enuff.' 

'Are you sure?' demurred the corporal, who was 
prepossessed in Ephraim's favour on account of his 
prowess in having overthrown such a mighty man 
of valour as Sergeant Mason. ' It '11 be easy enough 
to have you carried.' 

' I '11 walk while I kin walk,' returned Ephraim 
with grim humour. 'Ye kin carry me after the 
shootin'. Or I reckon it 's hangin' when je 're ketched 
spy in' around ; ain't it ?' 

' I 'm afraid it is,' answered the corporal as they 
moved along. ' And I wish it wasn't, for you 're a 
brave man, and I 'd sooner see you with an ounce 
of lead in your brain than dangling at the end of a 
rope.' 

' That 's real kind of you, corpoi'al,' said Ephraim. 
' The selection is very ch'ice ; but I 'low the result 
won't make much difference ter me.' 



228 GRIZZLY IN THE TOILS. 

The corporal seemed to feel the force of this, for 
he made no reply, and they continued their way in 
silence until the groups of smouldering bivouac fires 
showed that they had reached the outer line of the 
camp. Passing through the long rows of slumbering 
soldiers, they came at last to the guard tent, and here 
the corporal, on making inquiries, was referred to the 
officer of the day, who in his turn directed them to 
the provost-marshal. 

They found that this dreaded functionary had left 
word that, in the event of the capture of the spy, he 
was to be awakened at once, no matter what the hour ; 
but as a matter of fact he arrived upon the scene in 
a very bad humour, for after waiting up till consider- 
ably past midnight, he had thought that he might 
safely turn in, and now his first sweet, refreshing sleep 
had been rudely broken. That this was due to the 
strictness of his own orders did not tend to soothe 
him, for there was nobody to shift the blame upon, and 
to be reduced to grumbling at one's self is a state 
that offers little consolation. Yes, there was some 
one, though, upon whom the vials of his wrath might 
be legitimately emptied, and the provost-marshal 
determined that the spy — if spy he really proved to 
be — should have nothing to complain of on the score 
of undue leniency. 

' Bring that prisoner in here,' he said, appearing at 
the entrance to his tent. — * Now, corporal, is this the 



spy 



?' 



' Can't say, sir,' answered the corporal ; ' but I 
shouldn't wonder if it were. I captured him as he 
was attempting to escape after clubbing Sergeant 
Mason.' 



GRIZZLY IN THE TOILS. 229 

The provost-marshal, who had seated himself at a 
small table with a note-book before him and a pencil 
in his hand, looked up in surprise at this. ' Do I 
understand you to say,' he asked, ' that this weedy 
creature actually got the best of Sergeant Mason V 

' It 's a fact, sir,' replied the corporal. ' Mason has 
got a crack on the head that will keep him quiet this 
long time. Of course I didn't see the fight myself, 
but this fellow here don't deny that he is the man, 
and he has a bayonet wound in the shoulder to speak 
for the truth of what he says.' 

' Humph !' muttered the provost-marshal. 'I shouldn't 
have thought it possible. Well, I '11 question him. — By 
the way, corporal, did you hear or see anything of 
those other two fellows ?' 

'No, sir,' answered the corporal, understanding the 
reference ; ' but I heard, sir, that Colonel Spriggs was 
still out on the hunt for them.' 

The provost-marshal's moustache was slightly 
agitated. So grim a person could not be expected 
to smile ; but his amused thought was evidently : 
' Spriggs will take precious good care not to return to 
camp until Jackson moves from Port Republic, or we 
move from here.' 

For Ephraim, too, the announcement had a special 
interest, for it showed him that his identity with one 
of the escaped aeronauts was not, so far, suspected, and 
hence the provost- marshal could have no idea that any 
one else had been concerned in the affair of the despatch. 
Lucius, he hoped, was by this time out of harm's 
way ; but at all events Spriggs was not there to 
complicate matters by referring to him. The Grizzly 
was quite prepared to take the onus of the theft of 



230 GRIZZLY IN THE TOILS. 

the despatch upon his own shoulders, and he awaited 
cahnly the discovery of the packet. Casting his eyes 
downwards to his cartridge pouch, he saw with some 
slight surprise that the flap was unfastened. He had 
been very particular about the fastening, lest by any 
chance the papers should be lost, and he wondered 
whether it had come undone during his combat with 
Sergeant Mason. He was roused from his meditations 
by the voice of the provost-marshal questioning him. 

'Are you a soldier or civilian ?' 

'Civilian, sir. I am a factory hand at the iron- 
works at Staunton. I came into your lines by accident, 
and 'cause I wanted ter git out agen without comin' 
ter grief, I put on these clothes thet I found in the 
wood.' 

' Ah ! I suppose it was also by accident that, thus 
disguised as a Federal soldier, you played the part 
of sentry, and became fraudulently possessed of a 
despatch belonging to General Shields and addressed 
to General Fremont ? And I imagine that if, by 
another and very lucky accident, you had fallen in 
with your friends, the enemy, you would have felt 
compelled to hand the despatch over to them. It is 
fortunate that we got hold of you first.' 

This was a shot on the part of the provost-marshal, 
for he had as yet no means of knowing that Ephraim 
and the man who had stopped Captain Hopkins were 
one and the same. As Ephraim did not answer, he 
went on : ' Have you got the despatch, corporal ?' 

' No, sir,' replied the corporal. ' I was busy attending 
to his wound and bringing him here.' 

' Search him, then.' 

The corporal searched Ephraim literally down to 



GRIZZLY IN THE TOILS. 231 

his skin, and to the surprise of no one more than the 
Grizzly himself, discovered nothing. 

' They must hev dropped out while the row war 
goin' on,' thought Ephraim ; for it never crossed his 
mind that by an accidental exchange of belts the papers 
had come into Luce's hands. Had he suspected this, 
he would have felt miserable indeed. 

'What have you done with that despatch, you 
fellow? What is your name?' asked the provost-mar- 
shal angrily. 

' Ephraim Sykes,' answered the Grizzly, paying no 
attention to the more important question. 

' Psha ! Where is the despatch ? — Well, do you 
not intend to answer?' For still Ephraim held his 
peace. 

'I told ye the truth jest now,' said Ephraim at last. 
'I war tryin' ter git out er your lines, whar I come 
without any wish er my own. I hevn't got any 
despatch, ez ye kin see.' 

' What have you done with it, then ? ' inquired the 
provost-marshal impatiently. 

'I hevn't said I ever had it,' answered Ephraim, 
anxious to gain time. ' Ef ye air so ready ter accuse 
me, ye 'd better start in and prove me guilty. I 'm 
not supposed ter do it fer ye, I reckon.' 

The officer eyed him sternly. ' Justice shall be done, 
my man ; don't you be afraid of that,' he said signifi- 
cantly. — 'Corporal!' He gave an order in an under- 
tone, and the corporal immediately left the tent. 

In a few minutes he returned, followed by Captain 
Hopkins, who entered with a look of eager expectation 
on his face. 

' Do you recognise this man, captain ? ' asked the 



232 GRIZZLY IN THE TOILS. 

provost-marshal. — ' You, Sykes, come forward into the 
light.' 

' Recognise him ! I should think so,' exclaimed 
Hopkins, as Ephraim obeyed the order. ' That is the 
rascal who personated a sentry by the river-bank, 
stole the despatch by means of a trick, and set my 
boat adrift.' 

* You are certain that you are not mistaken, captain ?' 

'Absolutely. The interview was too fruitful in 
consequences to allow me to forget the interviewer. 
I would have picked this man out of a whole regiment.' 

The provost-marshal looked at Ephraim. ' You hear 
the charge,' he said briefly. ' What have you to say ?' 

' Waal, I han't denied it,' answered Ephraim. 

' You mean that you admit that you took the 
despatch from Captain Hopkins. I understand you 
to admit that.' 

' It ain't much use my doin' anj^thin' else, so fur ez 
I kin see,' returned Ephraim. * Yes ; I stopped him 
and took the despatch.' 

' Good ! Your intention, of course, was to deliver 
it to the enemy ?' 

' Nary a doubt er thet,' admitted Ephraim. 

*By whom you were commissioned to enter our 
lines and collect whatever information you could ?' 

' Not at all,' answered Ephraim sharply. ' It war 
jest ez I told ye. I war a civilian tryin' to escape 
out of yer lines. But the chance came ter me, and 
I took it.' 

' I need not tell you in return that the taking of 
that chance will cost you your life ; for civilian though 
you may be, you are probably acquainted with the 
punishment incurred by a spy. It matters not at 



GRIZZLY IN THE TOILS. 233 

all that the paper has not been found upon you, 
since you have been identified and have confessed 
your guilt ' 

' Guilt !' put in Ephraim quietly. ' I han't confessed 
to any guilt ez fur ez I know. I don't call it a crime 
ter try and serve ray country, whatever ye may do.' 

' We won't go into the question of patriotism either,' 
returned the provost-marshal. ' Unfortunately for you, 
when a man is caught serving his country in the 
particular fashion in which you have elected to 
serve yours, there is only one thing to be done with 
him.' 

' I 'd like ter be allowed ter ask ye. Mister Marshal,' 
said Ephraim, ' ef thar air none er your men prowlin' 
around our lines jest ter see what they kin pickup? 
What's the difference between them and me? Ain't 
they servin' their country, too, accordin' ter their 
lights?' 

•I'll allow that,' answered the provost-marshal. 
' And if your fellows can lay them by the heels, they 
will serve them as we shall serve you — namely, hang 
them. But now, my man, seeing that you can't get off, 
and that there is but one end in store for you, you 
may as well tell me what you have done with the 
despatch.' 

' It '11 make no difference to me, ye say ? Ter the 
hangin', thet is?' queried Ephraim. 

The provost-marshal shook his head. ' Not the 
slightest,' he said. 

' Then hang away and welcome. Ye '11 git no more 
out er me.' 

The provost-marshal considered for a moment. It 
was important to ascertain if possible whether the 



234 GRIZZLY IN THE TOILS. 

despatch had reached the enemy or not. Finally he 
said : ' Understand me, my man : I am empowered 
to deal summarily with cases like yours. I might 
condemn you out of hand ; but it you will tell 
me truly what you have done with the despatch, 
I will give you this further chance, that I will refer 
your case to the general in the morning. Speak out 
now.' 

Ephraim considered in his turn. He did not give 
much for the grace of being brought face to face with 
General Shields, who he did not doubt would instantly 
recognise him as the purloiner of his breakfast and 
the soi-disant ' Trailing Terror,' and so the matter 
would become more hopelessly complicated than ever. 
But life was sweet, and if he could gain a respite 
of only a few hours, there was no saying what might 
happen in the interval. He had risked his life, and 
would have done so again, to carry the despatch 
to the Confederate General ; but seeing that it was 
lost and he could by no possibility discover it, why 
should he not simply say so and take the proffered 
advantage ? 

' Well,' said the provost-marshal at last, ' have you 
made up your mind ?' 

' I hev, sir,' answered Ephraim. ' But if I tell ye 
the truth ye '11 maybe not b'leeve me.' 

' Say your say, and we shall see,' returned the other ; 
' but I seriously advise you not to attempt to put rae 
off with any cock-and-bull story.' 

' Waal,' began Ephraim, ' I 'low I might bluff ye 
by tellin' ye thet I 'd got thet despatch across the lines, 
f er I reckon thet 's the idee thet 's niakin' ye oncom- 
f ortable ; but if I 'd got thet fur with it, I wouldn't 



GEIZZLY IN THE TOILS, 235 

hev been sech a born fool ez to come back jest fer the 
pleasure er bein' hung. The plain truth is, I don't 
know whar it is any more than ye do yerself.' 

' Do you mean that you have lost it ?' 

' Nuthin' less. I had it hyar in this pouch jest 
before thet rumpus with the sergeant at the end of 
the ditch, and I reckon it must hev fell out somewhar 
thar.' Ephraim did honestly believe this to be the 
case. 

' If you had had an accomplice, it would have been 
a simple matter to pass the paper on to him,' said the 
provost-marshal, regarding him doubtfully. 

'Ye may be easy on thet score,' replied Ephraim 
firmly. ' I got hold er the despatch by myself without 
the help er any one. I carried it in this pouch, ez I 
war tellin' ye, and I know thet I had it jest before 
the row began. Maybe it 's lyin' around loose on the 
ground somewhar thar. I 'm tellin' ye the truth and 
no lies,' he added earnestly. ' B'leeve me or not, thet 's 
my last word.' 

The provost-marshal rose to his feet, ' Captain 
Hopkins,' he said, ' return to your quarters. I will 
send for you when I require you.' Then as the captain 
went out : ' Corporal, place this man under guard. 
Afterwards take your men and return to the spot 
where you arrested this spy. Make a thorough search 
of the ground in the vicinity. If you find the despatch, 
bring it at once to me. If not, come back here with 
the prisoner at dawn.' 

' Very good, sir,' answered the corporal. — ' What 
shall I do about the man's wound, sir?' 

' Oh, thet 's nuthin',' put in Ephraim. ' I don't 
know it 's thar sence ye tied it up.' 



236 GRIZZLY IN THE TOILS. 

' The sentry can be told to send for a surgeon if it 
becomes necessary during the night,' said the provost- 
marshal. ' Remove the prisoner.' 

The corporal retired with Ephraim, whom he 
immediately conducted to an empty tent, before the 
door of which he set a sentry. Then he unslung 
his canteen and laid it down on the ground beside 
the prisoner, and a moment later forced a great handful 
of biscuit upon him. 

' There,' he said good-naturedly, ' you won't starve 
now, and if your shoulder troubles you, hail the sentry 
and he '11 send for a surgeon. I 've told him.' 

'Tain't wuth it fer all the time I'll know I've got 
an arm,' said Ephraim gloomily. 

' Oh, maybe it '11 not be so bad as that. If we 
find the despatch, you may get oft! I don't say you 
will ; but I hope so, for I like your pluck in standing 
up to a giant like Sergeant Mason.' 

' I 'm obleeged ter ye,^ said Ephraim more heartily. 
' I hadn't looked fer so much kindness from a Yank.' 

'Ah, we're not so black as we're painted down 
South,' laughed the corporal. 'And we're all 
Americans, if it comes to the pinch, and don't you 
forget it.' 

He nodded kindly and went out, leaving Ephraim 
alone with his reflections. 

They were not pleasant, as may well be imagined. 
The lad was brave, but it takes a considerable supply 
of somewhat unusual fortitude to enable one to wait 
through the dark watches of the night, looking forward 
to the death which is to come with the dawn, and strive 
as he would, Ephraim found it hard to put the dismal 
prospect from him. 



GRIZZLY IN THE TOILS. 237 

' I wish they 'd hung me out er hand,' he said to 
himself. ' It would hev been over by now. It 's 
the thinkin' what 's ter come thet makes me sick.' He 
rose and paced backwards and forwards in his narrow 
prison. ' God be thanked, Luce warn't with me,' ran 
his thoughts. ' Ef he 's had any luck, he '11 be safe 
in our lines by now. But I wish I knew. I wish 
I knew. Luce '11 be sorry when he comes ter hear er 
this. We 've always been sech friends. Thar 's on'y 
him and Aunty Chris. Luce '11 take keer on her ; I 
bet he will. I 'd like ter see him once more before 
I die ; but I wouldn't hev him hyar fer thet. By time ! 
no. I wonder will it hurt. I dunno, but I 'd ruther 
they 'd shoot me ; but I s'pose I ain't good enufF fer 
thet. Waal, I reckon it won't take long either way. 
Funny, ain't it, ter hev ter die ? I reckon I orter be 
thinkin' about heaven, 'stead er which I 'm hankerin' 
a good deal after this old earth. Anyway, I '11 try 
and fix my thovts above, ez the minister said last 
Sabbath. Maybe it '11 do me good and make me 
brave ; but I reckon it 's none too easy.' 

He knelt down upon the ground and covered his 
eyes with his hand, as if with the sight of earth he 
would shut out all thoughts of it. Then from his 
simple heart there welled a passionate prayer to God, 
not for his own safety, for he considered that as a 
thing past praying for, but that he might be able to 
look Death bravely in the face, and meet him as a man 
should do — that God would take care of Aunty Chris, 
and bless and keep Luce from harm — ' Let him git 
home ! Let him git thar !' — and he was done. 

He rose to his feet, refreshed in spirit and steadier 
in his nerves. Hope seemed to have returned to him, 



238 



GRIZZLY IN THE TOILS. 



and there was something like a smile upon his lips as 
he stowed away the biscuit which the corporal had 
given him in his pockets. 

' Ye never know when they might come in handy,' 
he muttered. — 'Hello ! What do ye want ?' 

For the sentry had put his head through the opening 
of the tent, obscuring the faint light that entered 
there. 

' 'St !' whispered the sentry. ' Don't make a noise. 
By time ! Grizzly, I 'm sorry ter see ye fixed up like 
this/ 




CHAPTER XV. 




ANY PORT IN A STORM. 

[^ O say that Ephraim was astonished as this 
sympathetic remark fell upon his ear, would 
be to convey a very faint idea of his sensa- 
tions. For the moment he was simply be- 
wildered. The voice was the voice of a friend, and 
where in all that great army should he look for a 
friend just now ? 

' Who air ye ?' he attempted to say ; but his tongue 
clove to his mouth, and no sound came from his lips. 

He groped for the corporal's canteen and took a 
drink. 'Who air ye?' he said at last. 'Who air ye 
thet speak ter me like thet ?' 

His legs beofan to tremble under him. He sat down 
upon the ground and took another sip of water from 
the canteen. It refreshed him, and he listened eagerly 
for the reply. 

' A friend,' answered the sentry. ' Don't ye be down 
in the mouth, Eph Sykes. I'm hyar ter help ye. 
On'y we must go cautious, ye know.' 

'Who air ye?' repeated Ephraim. 'Who air ye?' 
He said it over and over again monotonousl}", like a 
parrot repeating the words. 



240 ANY PORT IN A STORM. 

' Sh ! What 's the matter with ye ? Don't ye know 
me ? I thort ye would. I 'm Jake Summers, Ye 
know me now, don't ye ? ' 

' Ah ! I do thet,' answered Ephraim with cold con- 
tempt. 'Jake Summers, the Southern Yankee. The 
man who quit old Virginny when the war broke out, 
and took sides agin her. I know ye well enufF now. 
And ye call yerself a friend. Yah ! Git out and leave 
me alone.' 

' Oh, shet yer head, Grizzly,' was the retort, given 
without a spice of ill-humour. ' What do you know ? 
I reckon we 've all got our own opinions, and may be 
allowed ter keep 'em. I 'm not the on'y one by a long 
sight ez couldn't make up his mind to cut loose from 
the old Union, ez ye know well enough. I 'magine ye 
won't deny a man the right ter foller the call er his 
conscience in this onnatural war.' 

Couldn't ye hev hung on ter the Union 'thout 
firin' bullets inter old Virginny, ef thet's the 
way ye felt about it,' answered Ephraim. 'Any- 
way, ye kin settle up with yer conscience the 
best way ye please, so long as ye git out er thet. 
Quit !' 

' Eph,' said the man earnestlj^, 'don't make sech a 
pizen noise, onless ye want ter wake up them ez 
doesn't feel fer ye ez I do. I tell ye I want ter be yer 
friend ef ye '11 let me, and not be a fool.' 

' Garn away,' replied Ephraim dismally, but not so 
roughly as before. ' What kin ye do ? ' 

' I '11 show ye ef ye '11 git up and come over hyar, 
whar I kin talk ter ye 'thout bein' heard all over the 
camp,' said the man. — ' Eph, d' ye remember little 
Toots ?' 



ANY PORT IN A STOllM. 241 

* Ah, I remember him/ answered Ephraim. ' What 
ye bringin' him up fer ?' 

' Little Toots, my little b'y Toots,' went on the man 
with a catch in his voice. ' The on'y one me and 
Jenny ever had. D' ye remember, Eph, after we thort 
he war gittin' well from the dipthery, how ye useter 
come and see him, and bring him toys ye 'd made 
yerself. One time it war a little gun, one time it war 
a Noah's ark ye 'd cut him outern a block er pine, and 
another time it war a Jack-in-the-box thet useter 
frighten him every time it come out, and then make 
him larf till we thort he'd never stop?' The rough 
voice died away in a sob. 

' I don't see what yer meanin' is,' said Ephraim 
uncomfortably, for he hated to be reminded of his 
little charities. 

' Don't ye ? I '11 larn ye soon. When we quit Staun- 
ton, Jenny and Toots and me, the little b'y he sorter 
sickened after the old home, and he got weaker and 
weaker. We 'd lost everything, Eph, and we couldn't 
git him the little comforts he wanted, the pore lamb, 
and thar we hed ter sit and see him wastin' before 
our eyes, me and Jenny. Eph, I tell ye, he war always 
singin' out fer you. "I want Grizzly," says he. "I 
want him ter bring me a toy." And when he died, 
Eph, he war jest huggin' yer old Jack-in-the-box ter 
his breast, ez ef he loved it too much ter leave it behind 
him. So we put it in with him, Eph, fer we couldn't 
bear ter take it from him.' His voice choked again, 
and he stopped abruptly. 

'Pore little Toots !' murmured Ephraim sympatheti- 
cally. 'And so ye lost him, Jake ?' 

' We did,' answered Jake ; ' and we thort our hearts 

p 



242 ANY POET IN A STORM. 

war broke, we did, me and Jenny. And then ter-night, 
jest now when the corporal brought ye along and sot 
ye in thar with me ter look after ye, I couldn't believe 
it fer a spell. And then I thort how good ye 'd been 
ter little Toots, makin' his little life thet happy, and 
how fond he war er ye and all. And I sez ter myself, 
I dunno what Eph Sykes hez been up ter ; but I 
reckon ef harm comes ter him while I 'm hyar ter 
keep it off 'n him, 1 11 never be able ter look little Toots 
in the face when wanst I meet him again. Now ye 
kin tell, Grizzly, ef I 'm yer friend or ef I ain't.' 

Ephraim made no answer ; but in the dark he groped 
for Jake's hand and wrung it hard. 

' I 've got a plan, Eph,' said Jake, returning the 
pressure. ' It 's ez simple ez hoein' a row. On'y we 
must be quick.' 

' No, Jake, I can't let ye do it,' answered Ephraim 
at last. ' Ye can't help me 'thout hurtin' yerself, and 
I can't save my life et the price er another man's, 
'ceptin' in a fair fight. It 's good er ye, Jake, and it 's 
like what I remember ye in the old days. But I can't 
let ye do it ; though I 'm obleeged ter ye, all the 
same.' 

'Shucks!' exclaimed Jake impatiently. 'Don't ye 
consarn yerself over me. I reckon I like a whole 
skin ez well ez any man. Thar'il be a court-martial 
and thet ; but they won't be able to prove anythin'. 
Don't waste time. Hev ye got a knife ?' 

' On'y a little wan,' replied Ephraim, yielding to his 
persuasion. 

'Then take mine, and open the big blade. Now 
then, rip a great hole in the back er the tent. Do it 
soft, now. Don't make no noise. Hev ye done it ?' 



ANY PORT IN A STORM. 243 

'Yes,' answered Ephraim. 'Am I ter git out thet 
way ?' 

' My land ! no. Ye 'd be stopped before ye 'd gone 
ten paces. It 's on'y fer a blind, thet. Now come 
over hyar. Put yer hands behind yer back ez e£ they 
war tied, and step out alongside me. See hyar, Eph, 
this has got ter be smartly done, fer I must git back 
ter my post without loss er time. I '11 take the resk. 
I can't do everythin' I 'd like ter do ; but I '11 pilot ye 
through the camp, and then ye must make a break fer 
the woods on yer own account. Ef ye let 'em nab ye 
agen, ye 're not the man I take ye fer. Air ye ready ? 
Then come along.' 

With considerable difficulty Ephraim clasped his 
hands behind his back, owing to the stiffness in his 
shoulder ; but he set his teeth and bore the pain, and 
while Jake grasped him by the arm, the two of them 
set out with soft but rapid steps through the slumber- 
ing camp. 

Here and there a head was sleepily lifted ; but the 
sight of a prisoner at any hour of the day or night 
was altogether too common to attract serious attention, 
and only once did Jake open his mouth to inform a 
sentry that he was taking his charge to the provost- 
marshal. 

Presently they reached the tent where the stern 
dispenser of martial law slept in blissful unconscious- 
ness that his prey was on the point of slipping through 
his fingers. Needless to say they did not enter his 
tent, which was at the extreme end of the camp near 
the river, but making a slight detour, slipped past it, 
and almost immediately afterwards Jake came to a 
halt. 



244 ANY PORT IN A STOR^f. 

' Thet 's all I kin do fer ye, Grizzly,' he whispered. 
' Ye must trust ter luck fer the rest. God send ye git 
safe in. Give a kind thort ter Uncle Sam sometimes 
fer this night's work.' And before Ephraim could 
utter a word of the thanks that rushed to his lips, his 
benefactor had turned and left him. 

' Waal,' thought Ephraim, as he cast himself at full 
length upon the ground in order to escape observation, 
' thet Jake Summers is a man down ter his boots. To 
think of the few toys I give little Toots bringin' about 
all this. I never thort when I made him thet Jack-in- 
the-box thet it war ter be the savin' er my life. My 
land ! I kin sca'cely onderstand it.' 

As he lay, he rapidly revolved plan after plan for 
his further procedure, rejecting them all, till at last he 
made up his mind to attempt to reach the hut in the 
forest, and conceal himself therein until the day broke. 

' It 's resky/ he thought to himself ; ' but then every- 
thin' 's resky jest now. And it 's better than wanderin' 
round in the dark, when I might plump up against a 
Yank before I knew whar I war. Thet window is so 
handy, too. Onless they come on me from all sides at 
wanst, I kin slip through it nicely and away inter the 
woods.' 

He stole across the fields, bending almost to the 
ground lest any prowling Federal or lynx-eyed sentry 
should catch sight of him ; nor did he pause to take 
breath until he reached the long ditch, at the far end 
of which he had waged that memorable battle with 
Sergeant Mason, which had, after all, resulted so disas- 
trously for himself. 

' I wonder whether the corporal has found the 
despatch,' he thought, as he rested his back against 



ANY PORT IN A STORM. 245 

the sloping side of the ditch. ' It must hev dropped 
out somewhar thar. He 's a good man, thet corporal, 
and ef I git cl'ar of this scrape, I won't hev so many- 
hard things ter say agin the Yanks after ter-night. 
'Ceptin', of co'se, that pesky Gunnel Spriggs. But 
then, I reckon, he sorter stands alone, bein', as Ginrul 
Shields said, a disgrace ter everybody. I wonder whar 
he is, the critter ! Layin' on ter be lookin' fer us, 
when all he wants is ter be quit er the fight ter-morrer, 
or ter-day, for I guess it 's been ter-day this two hours 
back. I wonder ef thar will be a battle. It '11 simplify 
matters a good deal fer me ef thar is, fer the Yanks 
will hev enufF ter do 'thout huntin' me. I wonder 
whar Luce kin be ? I hope he 's made our lines all 
right. My land! I'd jest better quit wonderin' and 
'tend ter business.' 

He started off again, going warily, and anon reached, 
without accident, the short arm of the wood, through 
which he groped cautiously until he came opposite 
to the back of the hut. Here he paused again, and 
throwing himself down, crawled on his hands and 
knees across the short strip of intervening ground. 
At the window he raised himself up cautiously and 
listened intently. Not a sound broke the stillness, 
and satisfied at last, he edged his way round to the 
front. 

' All cl'ar,' he thought. ' Thet 's well. Now I '11 set 
down jest inside the door, and then ef anybody comes 
I kin slip in and away through the window, or out 
across the open ez the case may be. It 's oncomfort- 
ably nigh the camp, this cabin; but I 'magine it's 
the safest place till the mornin' breaks.' 

He sat down at the door of the cabin, and pulling 



246 ANY PORT IN A STORM. 

out a piece o£ the corporal's biscuit, ate it with relish. 
Half an hour passed, and the deep stillness acting 
soothingly upon his tired nerves, he began to feel 
drowsy, and actually nodded once or twice. 

' This won't do,' he muttered. * I must keep awake ; 

it' Another nod, and then he sprang noiselessly 

to his feet, wide awake and quivering in every limb. 
He heard, or thought he heard, a scratching sound 
at the window of the hut. 

He strained his ears to listen, ready the instant that 
doubt became certainty to flee across the open into 
the fields once more. 

Again that faint scratching sound, this time a little 
louder, and accompanied by a gentle tapping. 

'It's a squirr'l, I reckon,' thought Ephraim, much 
relieved. ' He has maybe got a knot hole on the roof.' 

* Whippo-Avil ! whippo-wil ! whippo-wil !' 

Ephraim stiffened into attention again. There was 
nothing extraordinary about the sound. It was night, 
or rather very early morning, the time when the 
whip-poor-wills took their exercise and screamed out 
their loud, clear notes ; but there was something else. 
In the old days at Staunton, which the startling events 
of the last four-and-twenty hours had crowded so far 
into the background that they seemed removed by 
a distance of years from the present, it had been 
Luce's custom to come whip-poor-willing down the 
little back street where Ephraim lived, to give his 
friend timely notice of his approach. Therefore the 
sound had a greater significance for the Grizzly. 

'Hear thet bird!' he said to himself. 'It's jest 
what Luce use ter do. My ! I wonder will I ever 
irit back to the old home again.' 



ANY PORT IN A STORM. 247 

' Whippo-wil ! whippo-wil ! whippo-wil ! Tap, tap, 
tap !' 

Now a whip-poor-will may sing its song at night, 
but it does not usually perch upon a window-sill and 
lightly tap to attract attention, and this was borne 
home to Ephraim when for the third time the cry 
wa.s repeated, followed by the mysterious rapping. 

Ephraim's heart gave a great leap. ' It can't be !' 
he said, in the silence of his brain. ' It can't be ! I 
reckon I must find out, though.' 

He crept noiselessly round the cabin and peered 
beyond the angle of the wall in the direction of 
the window. 

The space at the back of the hut was darker than 
that at the front, for the nearness of the woods threw 
an additional gloom ; but Ephraim, staring into the 
dark, could just make out a figure standing at a 
little distance from the window with outstretched arm, 
which rose and fell rhythmically, and at every move- 
ment came the light tap, tap of a switch upon the 
sill. 

' Whippo-wil ! whippo ' 

'Luce !' 

'Grizzly!' 

There was a rush through the darkness, the shock 
of a violent meeting, and panting, trembling, almost 
sobbing with joy, the two friends clung to one another 
in a fervent embrace. 

'Luce!' whispered the Grizzly, the words falling 
in broken syllables from his lips. ' What ye doin' 
hyar? I thought ye would be safe and fur away.' 

' I didn't know what had become of you,' whispered 
Lucius back ; * but I imagined that if you had got 



248 ANY PORT IN A STORM. 

away you would make for the cabin. It seemed the 
most likely place. Oh, I 'm so glad ! I 'm so glad ! ' 

' I 'm glad too ; but I 'm sorry ez well, fer I thought 
ye would be well within our lines. Ugh ! Ah !' 

'What is the matter?' asked Lucius in alarm, as 
at another friendly hug Ephraim uttered a low cry 
of pain. 

' It 's nuthin', bub. On'y I got it in the shoulder, 
and ye gripped me thar. Come into the cabin. We '11 
be safer thet way.' 

* What ! Are you wounded ?' inquired Lucius 
anxiously, as he followed Ephraim in through the 
window^ 

' Jest a scrape on the shoulder. Never mind it. 
Tell me what happened after ye left me. I reckon 
ye ran back the way ye had come. I heard ye 
shoutin'.' 

' No, I didn't,' answered Lucius. ' At least, only for 
a few steps, and then I made a break clean away. 
And I got through,' he added proudly. 

'Through the ring thet was round ye?' queried 
Ephraim, not understanding. 

' No,' replied Lucius ; * through their lines and into 
ours.' 

' What ! Ye — got — through — inter — our — lines V 

'Yes; and gave the despatch to General Jackson.' 

' The despatch ? Ginrul Jackson ? Luce, what air 
ye say in' ? ' 

'I am telling you just what happened,' answered 
Lucius. ' Didn't you miss it ? The despatch, I mean. 
I found it in my pouch. We must have changed belts 
without knowing it in the darkness of the cave.' 

' Ye found the despatch, and ye got inter our lines, 



ANY PORT IN A STORM. 249 

and ye gave it ter old Stonewall, I onderstand ye 
ter say ! ' said Ephraim, still bewildered. 

'I did, all three.' He laughed a low laugh of 
satisfaction. 

'Then why in thunder didn't ye stay thar?' 

' Grizzly ! Did you suppose that after all you have 
risked for me I w^ould run away and leave you without 
trying to find out what had become of you ? I had 
such a time with the General. He didn't know me, 
not a little bit, and he wouldn't hear of my coming 
back. But he was so kind, and when he saw how 
anxious I was about you, he actually came with me 
himself as far as the outposts to find out if any one 

had seen you come in where I did. And then' 

He paused and gave another little laugh. 

'And then?' queried Ephraim, who had listened 
to the recital in absolute silence. 

' Then I gave him the slip and bolted for the Federal 
lines. Some one gave the order to fire ; but the 
General — I had told him who I was by that time — 
called out " Order — arms !" and I got clean away.' 

'And how did ye git ez fur ez this ?' 

'I sneaked through somehow. No one saw me. 
I heard a shot; but it was not fired at me, and I 
made for this cabin as fast as I could ; for I thought 
you would be here if anywhere.' 

The Grizzly bent forward with his head upon his 
arms and groaned aloud. 

'What is it?' asked Lucius sympathetically. 'Does 
your wound hurt you ?' 

' Wound ! ' moaned Ephraim. ' D' ye s'pose I 'm 
thinkin' about thet et sech a time ez this ? No, Luce, 
it 's you. That ye should git oflT safe and all, and then 



250 ANY PORT IN A STORM. 

start out to come back fer me. Oh, bub, why did 
ye do it ? Why did ye do it ?' 

'Why shouldn't I?' 

' And ye don't seem ter know thet ye 've done any- 
thin' out er the way,' said Ephraim in a w^ondering 
tone. 

' Grizzly, old stick, wouldn't you have done as much 
for me ? ' 

' Thet 's different. I brought ye out, and it war my 
duty ter git ye home agen ef it war anyways pos- 
sible. Ye got yerself the best part er the way — inter 
our lines, thet is — and now ye Ve been and run yer 
head inter the hornet's nest agen. And all fer me — all 
fer me. Luce, ye didn't orter hev done it. I warn't 
wuth it, Luce.' He sprang to his feet and groped in 
the darkness for his friend. ' I '11 never fergit what 
ye 've done fer me this day. Never ez long ez I live.' 
His voice faltered, and he wrung the younger boy's 
hand in silence. 

' Shucks ! ' exclaimed Lucius. ' It 's nothing to talk 
about, and here I am now. It doesn't come up by a 
long measure to what you've done for me from the 
time you broke into the pile till now. Besides, 
what's the use of being a friend if you don't act 
friendly ? ' 

' Hear him ! ' muttered Ephraim feebly. ' It 's all very 
well, Luce. But I can't fergit it, and I 'm not goin' ter 
hev ye makin' light er it.' 

' Well, here I am now,' said Lucius ; ' and you are 
safe, I am thankful to say. Tell me what has hap- 
pened to you since last I saw you. I tell you, 
while that fight was going on at the end of the 
ditch, I didn't know what to do, I was so frightened. 



ANY POUT IN A STOKM. 251 

I thought at first that the miserable Yank had got 
you down.' 

' Don't ye talk so airy er the miserable Yanks,' said 
Ephraim emphatically. ' I 've had more kindness ter- 
night from one or two of 'em than I kin well begin ter 
say. Ef it warn't fer a miserable Yank, I wouldn't be 
hyar jest now.' And taking up his story, he poured 
into Luce's astonished ear a graphic account of his 
adventures since his arrest. 

' Well,' commented Lucius when the tale was finished, 
' you have had a time of it, and no mistake. I hope 
Jake Summers got back before it was found out 
that you were missed. He must be a good man. You 
see now what it is to be a kind old Grizzly, and go 
around making little folks feel happy. I remember 
little Toots. And so he 's dead ? ' 

' Yes,' answered Ephraim, ' and pore Jake took on 
orful when he war tellin' me about him. Yes, I do 
hope it will go well with Jake.' 

' I believe they won't be likely to pry into that tent 
before dawn,' said Lucius. ' There 's no reason why 
they should. They want light to hang a man, I 
should say.' 

' It don't f oiler,' replied Ephraim drily. ' But thar '11 
be light enufF soon,' he added, moving to the door and 
looking out ; ' fer the sky is beginnin' ter brighten. 
It 's time fer us ter quit this establishment.' 

' Why shouldn't we stay here ? ' demurred Lucius. 
' I should think it would be as safe a place as any.' 

' Not when the day dawns,' answered Ephraim. 
' Ye don't s'pose that when they begin ter hunt fer me 
that they 're not likely ter give a look in hyar ez they 
pass by.' 



252 ANY PORT IN A STORM. 

' I imagine that they will have enough to think 
about without losing time on your trail,' said Lucius. 
' I saw certain signs as I came through our camp with 
the General that something was about to happen.' 

' Maybe,' returned Ephraim quaintly ; ' but ef they 
lay hold er me before thet suthin' happens, I wouldn't 
be able ter take so much interest in it ez otherwise. 
No ; we musn't stop hyar.' 

' Where shall we hide, then ? ' asked Lucius. ' I 
tell you I 've had enough of trying to break through 
lines.' 

* I agree with ye thar,' assented Ephraim. * Thar 
must be no more er that sort er fun. We must make 
a push across the woods and try and reach the moun- 
tain. We kin hide thar well enufF, or make our way 
along it, whichever seems most reasonable.' 

'We shall only lose ourselves in the wood again,' 
protested Lucius. ' What is the good of that V 

' Even so, we '11 hev a better chance ter dodge out er 
sight among the trees,' argued Ephraim. 'Honestly, 
I think it ain't safe ter stay hyar.' 

' Well, go ahead,' said Lucius. ' I am with you what- 
ever you do. You've got the longest head.' 

' I couldn't manage ter git the despatch through, fer 
all my long head,' exclaimed Ephraim admiringly. — 
' Come along, then.' 

They slipped through the window, and entered the 
wood in Indian file, Lucius holding on to the skirt of 
Ephraim's tunic, lest by any chance they should get 
separated in the intense darkness, for though the dawn 
was beginning to break, it would be some time yet 
before the light would be powerful enough to illu- 
minate the recesses of the forest. 



ANY PORT IN A STORM. 253 

As the stars paled in the sky before the approach 
of morniDg, two things happened, both fraught with 
importance to our fugitives, though they plunged 
along, steering blindly through the wood, trusting to 
Providence to guide them aright, and ignorant mean- 
while of the turn of events. First, Stonewall Jack- 
son's infantry began to move across the foot-bridge 
which he had thrown over the South Fork ; and, 
secondly, Colonel Spriggs, tired of the ineffectual pur- 
suit, and resting his wearied men under the mountain 
not far from the Confederate lines, sullenly turned 
his angry face once more in the direction of his own 
camp. Not that he intended to reach it just yet. His 
plan — a very simple one — was to lose himself in the 
wood until the growing day should have revealed to 
him what the enemy were about. If a battle should 
begin, he would thus be able to keep clear of it ; 
while, if otherwise, he could fall back upon the camp 
quietly and at his leisure. But Colonel Spriggs had 
reckoned without General Jackson, whose plans 
included the advance of Brigadier-general Taylor's 
Louisiana troops through the woods by the side of the 
mountain, and it was therefore not improbable that 
Colonel Spriggs would find himself in a very warm 
corner for once in his life before the day was much 
older. 

Of all these facts and probabilities, however, the 
boys knew nothing as they held steadily on through 
the pathless woods, hoping and trusting that their luck 
would lead them out upon the mountain-side, and at 
the same time keeping a wary eye for possible sur- 
prises or openings in the forest where an enemy might 
lurk. 



254 ANT PORT IN A STORM. 

The liwht grew stronger and the woods briorhter, and 
suddenly they came upon just such a place, a natural 
clearing, where the trees grew thinly and the ground 
was covered with logs and underbrush. To walk 
across this did not seem the right thing to do ; but to 
their joy they saw the mountain looming in front of 
them, and knew that at least their faces were in the 
right direction. 

'It'll not do ter cross over thar, Luce,' said 
Ephraim in a low voice. ' We must skirt it. Sh ! I 
hear a sound, Down ter the ground ! Thar 's some 
one comin' up.' 

The wood, indeed, at that part was full of soldiers. 
The Louisiana men were well forward, but unfortu- 
nately the boys had no suspicion that their own men 
were so close at hand, and only reckoned that they had 
to deal with their enemies, the Federals, who now 
appeared to be surrounding them. Far away, but 
rapidly drawing nearer, they could hear the tramp of 
stealthy footsteps, and now and again the low hum of 
subdued voices. Nearer and nearer came the terrifying 
sounds, and lower and lower they crouched, scarcely 
daring to breathe. 

'It's no use trying to skirt it, Luce,' whispered 
Ephraim, his mouth close to the boy's ear. 'They 
seem ter be all about us. They '11 crowd us out before 
we know. We must make a dash across the open 
before they git up, and try and reach thet other belt 
er wood. We '11 be safer thar.' 

' There may be more on the other side,' answered 
Lucius. 

' I know. We can't help thet. We 've got ter make 
a break fer freedom, and chance the rest.' 



ANY PORT IN A STORM. 255 

They crawled to the edge of the clearing, and after 
one moment of anxious listening, rose to their feet and 
stole swiftly into the open. 

But no sooner had they broken cover than Ephraim, 
who was leading, pulled up short, and with a sharp 
exclamation of surprise dashed back again. 

'What is it?' cried Lucius, following his friend's 
example. 

'Look! look!' whispered Ephraim excitedly. 'Look 
over thar up in the left angle er the clearing.' 

'Where?' asked Lucius, peering out. *0h!' as his 
eyes encountered an all too familiar object. ' That 
horrible balloon.' 

' Bullee ! ' exclaimed Ephraim excitedly. ' This is 
whar we came down yesterday, and thar 's old Blue 
Bag ready and willin' ter carry us out er this pesky 
difficulty. Bullee !' 

However willing Blue Bag might be, it was a 
question whether she would be able to aid her enthusi- 
astic inventor, for what between her travels and the 
time which had elapsed since she had been hauled 
down and fastened to the log, a considerable quantity 
of gas had leaked out of her, not to speak of that 
which Ephraim had deliberately set free in order to 
bring about the descent. Still, she floated with a 
certain amount of buoyancy, and Ephraim believed and 
hoped that when lightened of every remaining scrap 
of ballast, she would be capable of rising to a certain 
height, and of floating them out of the dangerous 
proximity of the contending forces. 

' She wobbles a bit,' said Ephraim, eyeing the balloon 
critically ; ' but I reckon she 's good enuff" yit ter take 
us past the Yanks, and thet 's all we want. It don't 
matter whether we come down in Staunton or in 



256 ANY PORT IN A STORM, 

Winchester, s' long ez we git cl'ar er Lewiston. Come 
on, Luce. Thar couldn't be a better way than this. 
We 've all the luck this mornin'.' 

He had forgotten Luce's little peculiarity in the 
matter of balloons, and with another joyous ' Come 
on!' darted again into the open. The next instant, 
finding himself alone, he stopped and looked back. 

Lucius, deadly pale, with a queer strained look in 
his eyes, his knees knocking together, and his body 
swaying from side to side, was standing where 
Ephraim had left him, apparently unable to proceed. 

' What has struck ye, Luce ? ' asked Ephraim 
anxiously. ' Why don't ye come ? ' 

' I can't,' gasped Lucius. ' I daren't. It makes me 
sick to think of it. I 'd rather die.' 

' Waal,' returned Ephraim, hugely disappointed, ' ef 
ye can't, ye can't. I 'd fergotten how ye felt about it. 
No matter, we '11 make fer the woods on the other side. 
— Ah, by time ! ' 

He rushed back to Lucius and seized him by the 
hand. ' Thar 's no help fer it. Luce,' he cried. ' Ye 
Tnust come onless ye reely want ter die. I kin see the 
gleam er bay 'nets through the trees on the other side. 
We shall be headed off. Thar 's no other way.' 

He dragged Lucius forward with all his might ; but 
the boy hung back, sliding his feet over the ground 
like a jibbing pony. 

So they went until rather more than half the dis- 
tance had been covered, and then all at once a loud 
shout was raised behind them, and Ephraim, looking 
hastily round, uttered a groan of despair. 

Out from the coverts at the far end of the clearing 
rushed Colonel Spriggs, his face aflame with excite- 
ment, and waving his sword as he drew near. 




CHAPTER XVI. 




OLD GRIZZLY S SACRIFICE. 

S Ephraim saw their terrible enemy running 
towards them, followed by a number of 
soldiers, his heart, stout as it was, sank 
within him ; for Lucius, in the spasm of 
unreasoning terror which the mere sight of the 
balloon had induced in him, hung back, a dead- 
weight, and refused to move in response to either 
force or persuasion. It is said that a person in the 
grip of severe sea-sickness would, if informed that 
the ship was about to sink under him, calmly accept 
the fact, and welcome the change as a blessed relief 
from present suffering. If this be true, then Lucius 
was in very much the same state of mind. The 
recollection of his balloon experiences filled him with 
a hideous, incapacitating fear. To ascend, he believed, 
meant death. Death was behind him in another shape, 
but compared with the former it seemed absolutely 
enchanting. These were his thoughts, if he thought 
at all, and in answer to Ephraim's wild entreaty that 
he would hurry on, he did but hang back the more, 
while he muttered huskily words which fell in broken, 
meaningless syllables from his pale and trembling lips. 

Q 



258 OLD grizzly's sacrifice. 

While this struggle was going on, the colonel and 
his men drew nearer and nearer. Spriggs had not 
recognised the boys at first, but observing from his 
place of concealment two Federal soldiers, as he sup- 
posed, entering the open, had fixed his attention some- 
what idly upon them. It was not until the argument 
began, and he got a good, though distant, look at 
Ephraim's hairy face, that it was borne in upon him 
who these seeming Federals really were. A fierce 
joy filled his cruel heart. He should not have to 
return to camp empty-handed after all. 'Don't fire!' 
he ordered his men. ' Run them down and take them 
alive.' 

Relaxinof for a moment his efforts to dracr Lucius 
to the balloon, Ephraim cast a glance over his shoulder. 
The colonel and his men were still a couple of hundred 
yards away, but coming on at top speed. Thirty paces 
ahead was the balloon — a veritable city of refuge. 
One vigorous spurt, and they could reach it and be 
safe. Life was very sweet, and Ephraim could save 
his — if he went on alone. 

But that was not the Grizzly's way. No such 
coward tliought even entered his brain. Stooping 
down in front of Lucius, he drew the boy's arms 
around his neck, humped him on to his back like a 
sack of potatoes, and staggering to his feet again, 
stumbled forward, his body bent almost double under 
the heavy weight and the effort to preserve the equili- 
brium of his well-nigh senseless burden. 

'Throttle me round the neck, Luce,' he cried wildly, 
' Twine yer legs around me. Don't give in, sonny ! 
Keep up yer sperrits, and I '11 git ye thar !' 

Scarcely conscious of what he was doing, Lucius 



OLD grizzly's sacrifice. 259 

obeyed, and Ephraim, straightening up under this 
better distribution of weight, rushed madly on with 
long, swinging strides. 

On came the colonel. Another hundred yards and 
they were lost ; but gasping and groaning, Ephraim 
had reached the car, and with scant ceremony tumbled 
Lucius into its friendly shelter. 

His eyes were bulging out of his head, and the 
sweat poured in big drops from off his face. His 
shoulder, too, was paining him terribly, and the 
tremendous exertion had caused the bandages to slip, 
and set the blood flowing again. But his nerves were 
steady and his wits clear, and he ran swiftly from 
side to side of the car, deftly unloosing the knots in 
the ropes that detained it. 

Ping ! ping .' Two balls from the colonel's revolver 
sang through the cordage, and passed clean through 
the balloon ; but with a yell of triumph Ephraim 
scrambled into the car, and having cast oflf the loosened 
ropes, began madly to fling out the bags of ballast. 

Out went the sand-bags, one after the other, till but 
one remained, and then, as if in response to Ephraim's 
frantic invocations, old Blue Bag put forth all her 
remaining strength, and though she rose but slowly, 
yet after all she rose. Ephraim was wild with delight. 
He shouted and sang, without knowing in the least 
what he was doing, and regardless of the bullets, 
shook his fist at Spriggs as he came panting along. 
Then there was a slight jerk, and the shouts died 
away upon the Grizzly's lips, as the balloon stood still. 
The grapnel, which Ephraim in his eager haste had 
only torn from its hold and flung to one side, had 
dragged again under the log, and now held fast. 



260 OLD grizzly's sacrifice, 

Ephraim sprang at the rope where it was attached 
to the car, and tore at the fastening ; but the knot 
was stiff and badly tied, and in spite of all his efforts, 
it refused to come undone. 

Colonel Spriggs took in the situation at a glance. 
' Ha ! ha !' he laughed savagely ; ' I 've got you this 
time. You don't escape me again. — Hurry up there!' 
he called to his men, 'A dozen of you haul down 
this confounded balloon. The rest stand ready, and 
if the rope gives, fire a volley through the car,' 

A rush was made towards the balloon, in which a 
number of men, who had suddenly issued from the 
woods under the command of a young captain, took 
part. The remainder of the colonel's forces halted, 
and a row of deadly, gleaming tubes was instantly 
levelled at the car, where Ephraim, lost to all sense 
of personal danger in his anxiety to save Lucius, 
tugoed and strained at the knot till his nails were 
split, and blood oozed from the points of his fingers. 
In vain : it would not yield. 

' Never mind,' said a voice beside him. ' We are as 
good as dead, anyway. Better face them and have 
done with it.' 

Ephraim looked round, bewildered. Lucius was 
standing by his side, pale, certainly, but with a look 
rather of relief than otherwise upon his face. 

'By time!' cried the Grizzly, losing patience for 
once. 'I can't onderstand ye, Luce. One moment 
ye 're as limp ez a lump er jelly, and the next ye 're 
ez stiff ez the rammer er a gun. Oh, ef I 'd on'y kept 
Jake Summers's knife !' 

'Haul them down!' shouted the colonel, grinning 
like an ugly imp. 



OLD grizzly's sacrifice. 261 

He was standing immediately underneath the car, 
looking up at the boys. A wild storm of rage shook 
Ephraim from head to foot, and desisting from his 
useless struggle with the knot, he stooped to the bottom 
of the car, and raising the one heavy bag of ballast 
that remained, sent it with unerring aim full down 
upon his mocking enemy. 

The sand-bag struck the colonel between the neck 
and shoulder, and felled him like a log; but as he 
measured his length upon the ground, the car sank to 
earth ; strong hands seized and held it fast, and the 
young captain, who had been looking on in bewilder- 
ment at the singular scene, stepped forward, and 
parting the ropes, ordered the boys, not unkindly, to 
get out. 

'Whatever does this mean?' he began. 'Are you 

Federal soldiers, or ' But Colonel Spriggs, rising 

from the ground, advanced with a face that was 
absolutely contorted with rage. 

'Hold your tongue, sir!' he shouted rudely to the 
captain. 'I don't know who you are, nor what you 
want here. — As for you, you scoundrel,' he foamed at 
Ephraim. ' You filthy rebel, you ; I '11 teach you ! 
You 've played your last prank.' Then, maddened by 
the quiet smile upon the Grizzly's face, he raised his 
arm and thrust his fist, guarded by the heavy hilt of 
his sword, violently in the lad's mouth. 

' Take that, you dog,' he cried. ' What do you 
mean by grinning at me ?' 

Lucius uttered a cry of rage, and struggled violently 
with the men who held him on either side ; but 
Ephraim, spitting out a mouthful of blood, coolly 
replied: ''Twould hev made a cat laugh ter see ye 



262 OLD grizzly's sacrifice. 

sprawlin' thar. I on'y wish it had broken yer neck, 
ye or'nery skunk.' 

' Colonel !' exclaimed the young captain, stepping to 
the front. Then, seeing that his superior was tem- 
porarily out of his senses with M^rath, and fearful of 
some dire catastrophe, he turned sharply upon the 
crowd of soldiers, and ordered them to fall in. 

The men, drilled to prompt obedience, obeyed at 
once ; even those who were holding the balloon loosing 
their grasp and joining their comrades, the colonel's 
men in one group, the captain's in another. Instantly 
the balloon rose in the air, and the grapnel having 
been freed in the commotion, soared higher and higher, 
till at last, caught by a current of wind, it floated over 
the tree tops towards the south. An hour later it 
astonished Jackson's rearguard by descending suddenly 
among them, a collapsed and miserable wreck. 

The colonel was striding up and down, muttering 
furiously to himself. Now, when he looked up and saw 
the balloon drifting away, his wrath broke out afresh. 

' What did you let that balloon away for, you 
fools?' he shouted. 'Now we have no ropes to hang 
these dogs with. What did you do it for ?' He glared 
at the men, who naturally made no reply. 

'It was by a mistake, colonel,' the young officer 
hastened to explain. ' It was my fault. I gave the 
order to fall in.' 

' And who are you, sir, to give your orders while 
I am on the ground ?' stormed the colonel. 

' I addressed my own men,' replied the officer respect- 
fully ; ' I understand that I command my own com- 
pany. Your men heard the order, and obeyed it at 
the same time. Hence the escape of the balloon.' 



OLD grizzly's sacrifice. 263 

* Who are you, sir ?' repeated the colonel. ' Who 
are you with your "I command my own company?" 
You won't command it much longer if you presume to 
take so much upon yourself in the presence of your 
superior officer. I tell you I won't be answered back. 
I believe you let that balloon away on purpose.' 

The captain flushed deeply. 'My name is Peters, 

sir,' he answered, ' Captain Peters of the Vermont. 

I received orders to make a detour of these woods, to 
feel for an advance of the enemy. The scene which 
has just passed has considerably surprised me. I know 
nothing of these people, though, from the presence of 
the balloon, and the fact that they are wearing Federal 
uniforms, I am led to believe that they are those of 
whom all the camp is talking. I have no wish to 
hinder you in the execution of your duty. If you con- 
ceive it to be your duty to arrest these fellows, do 
80, by all means.' 

' I conceive it to be my duty,' retorted the angry 
colonel, ' to let you know that you are too free with 
your speech, young man. You don't command any- 
thing or anybody while I am on the ground, and just 
you remember it.' 

Captain Peters reddened again, but held his peace. 
He was a volunteer with little experience, and he 
really did not know whether he ought to be at the 
orders of a stray colonel, just because he was a colonel. 

' We 've got a friend in the captain,' whispered 
Ephraim to Lucius. ' We won't come to harm ef he 
kin git the whip hand.' But this it did not seem that 
Captain Peters was likely to do. 

' He '11 kill us if he can/ replied Lucius. ' Look at 
his face.' 



264 OLD grizzly's sacrifice. 

' I reckon,' returned Ephraim simply. ' The old 
blunderbuss is rnad.' 

The colonel resumed his march up and down, 
probably wrestling with himself ; for brute though 
he was, what manhood there was left in him could 
not but recoil from the deed he contemplated. For 
several minutes there was silence, the men standing at 
ease, and the captain meditatively poking holes in the 
ground with the point of his sword, and ever and anon 
casting furtive glances at the two prisoners. 

The stillness became oppressive. Only the colonel's 
hurried footsteps broke it irregularly, and the sound 
jarred so much upon Ephraim's tense nerves that he 
felt he must speak at whatever cost. 

' See hyar, cunnel,' he called out. ' It 's cruel ter 
keep us standing hyar. What ye goin' ter do Avith 
us ? Remember we ain't done ye any harm, 'ceptin' 
thet whack I ketch ed ye jest now, and any wan 
would hev done ez much, makin' a break fer freedom. — 
Cunnel !' 

Captain Peters made Ephraim a swift sign to be 
silent ; but the colonel, after one prolonged and malevo- 
lent stare, continued his march as though he had not 
heard a word. 

'The pesky critter!' muttered Ephraim. 'Hold up, 
Luce. He dassn't do nuthin', and he knows it too, 
right well. Thet 's what 's makin' him so mad. He 'd 
like ter chaw us up inter little bits, on'y he dassn't.' 

He stopped obedient to the captain's signals, but the 
next moment his roving eye caught the gleam of gun- 
barrels in among the trees in the section of wood they 
had left when they ran for the balloon, and here and 
there a face peeped out and was rapidly withdrawn ; 



OLD grizzly's sacrifice. 265 

so rapidly that the Grizzly rubbed his eyes and asked 
himself whether they had not deceived him. 'It 
looked like 'em,' he said to himself ; ' but it can't be. 
How can it be ? Oh, I reckon it 's some more Yanks 
comin' ter see the fun.' He held his tongue, however, 
and, for want of something better to do, took a piece of 
string from his pocket, and twisted it nervously round 
and round his fingers, the while he kept his eyes 
steadfastly fixed upon the forest opposite. But if he 
had seen anything, there was nothing to be seen now. 
Suddenly the colonel halted in his walk, turned, and 
approached them. 

' Now it 's corain',' thought Ephraim, twirling his 
string more rapidly than ever. Lucius stood perfectly 
still and erect, his hands locked behind his back, and 
his eyes staring straight in front of him. Whatever 
his feelings, they did not appear upon the surface. 

The colonel's swarthy face was deeply flushed, his 
black, deep-set eyes glittered menacingly under their 
bushy, overhanging brows, and he gnawed persistently 
at his long moustache. It was evident that in the 
struggle which had been going on in his mind, the 
evil had conquered the good. 

Captain Peters drew himself up as the colonel neared 
him, and waited silently at attention. 

* Captain Peters,' began Spriggs, speaking rapidly in 
a husky voice, whether the result of shame or of his 
still blazing wrath it would be hard to say, ' since you 
seem to have taken a more proper view of your position, 
I will condescend to explain matters to you. You 
were right in your surmise that these fellows are 
those who arrived yesterday in that balloon for the 
purpose of making observations of our position. They 



266 OLD grizzly's sacrifice. 

escaped, as you have doubtless heard, and they have 
been retaken, as you now see. 

Captain Peters bowed. 

'Well, sir,' went on the colonel, 'I presume you 
know the punishment in these cases, though your 
experience is probably not very great.' 

He sneered out the last words, and still Captain 
Peters did not reply, though his brown face became a 
shade paler. 

'We will take that for granted, then,' pursued the 
colonel. ' Very well, sir, as, owing to your hasty 
assumption of the command, that punishment cannot 
be carried out in the usual manner, you will take 
a firing party fifty yards to the right, set these two 
rascals twenty paces in front, and — shoot them. The 
word came out with a snap as though the demon which 
possessed the man had forcibly expelled it. 

'Colonel!' ejaculated the astounded Captain Peters. 

' Shoot them ! Why — why Has the charge been 

proved?' 

' Your duty is to obey, sir, not to ask questions,' said 
the colonel with a hang-dog look. 'Call your men 
forward at once.' 

' But, colonel/ protested Captain Peters, ' I beg your 
pardon, but I think I should be informed why I am 
ordered to do this. You have your own men, 
and' 

' Obey your orders, sir. It is just to teach you that 
lesson, and for nothing else,' thundered the colonel, 
now more violently inflamed than ever, because of the 
captain's evident reluctance. ' Obey your orders, and 
at once, or I'll have you disrated. Do you know 
who I am, sir ?' 



OLD grizzly's sacrifice. 267 

But Captain Peters held his ground like a man, and 
ventured on another protest. 

' One of them is a mere boy, colonel,' he said. 

' Boy or no boy,' returned the colonel sullenly, ' take 
him out, and shoot him along with that hairy-faced 
baboon there. He knew what he was doing when he 
turned spy, I '11 be bound.' 

' But I don't see ' began Captain Peters. 

' Never mind what you see, or what you don't see, 
sir,' vociferated the colonel. ' I tell you that they are 
a couple of rascally spies. I had the jDroof of it in my 
hand.' 

' Thet 's a lie,' interjected Ephraim most injudiciously 
at this point. ' We came down here because we 
couldn't help it, not because we wanted ter. He 
didn't find any proof.' 

Captain Peters looked hesitatingly at the colonel, 
who hastened to say : ' From the pocket of that fellow 
was taken a paper covered with details of our move- 
ments. That of itself is proof enough.' 

' Thet 's another,' cried Ephraim. ' Thar warn't 
nuthin' but stale news on thet paper. Don't ye listen 
ter him, captain. Ye take the resk. We han't had 
any trial. He dassn't shoot us 'thout'n a trial.' 

'Silence!' commanded the colonel. — 'It may satisfy 
you, Captain Peters, since you require so much satisfy- 
ing, that I have General Shields's express orders to 
deal summarily with these persons, when and wherever 
I might find them. Now will you do your duty ? I 
don't choose to be kept waiting here all the morning.' 

This was decisive, and though the captain turned a 
sympathetic eye upon the prisoners, he had no further 
objections to advance. 'Company! Attention!' he 



268 OLD grizzly's sacrifice. 

shouted ; but Lucius broke from the men who were 
standing on either side of him, and rushed forward. 

'Captain/ he cried, 'that man is a liar. Here is 
General Shields's own order.' He thrust a paper into 
the captain's hand. 

'Bullee!' chuckled Ephraim. 'So ye got thet, too. 
Luce. By time ! thet '11 upset him.' 

Captain Peters took the paper and read aloud : 
'"Colonel Spriggs — If you come up with the two men 
who escaped from the balloon this morning, you will 
detain them as prisoners, and bring them before me 
without taking further action." — This appears to be 
addressed to you, colonel,' he finished, looking up. 

Spriggs advanced upon him, and simply tore the 
paper from his hand. 'You impertinent puppy,' he 
raved, ' if it is addressed to me, what do you mean by 
reading it?' He glanced over the paper and his 
countenance changed, but he recovered himself. ' You 
greenhorn,' he continued bitterly, ' did it never occur 
to you to ask yourself how this precious document 
came into that rascal's hands ? Are you familiar with 
General Shields's handwriting ?' 

' No,' answered the captain ; ' but ' 

' Well, I am, sir, and I declare this thing to be an 
impudent forgery. Pah ! You call yourself a soldier, 
and allow yourself to be taken in by such a trick.' 

' It is not a forgery,' cried Lucius. ' Certainly, the 
general did not know that we were the escaped 
prisoners, but he gave my chum the paper, all the 
same. It 's the truth, upon my honour.' 

Captain Peters looked puzzled, as well he might. 
'I don't understand you,' he began, when the colonel 
at a white heat broke in afjain. 



OLD grizzly's sacrifice, 269 

* Captain Peters,' he roared, ' do your duty/ 

Captain Peters hesitated for the last time. He was 
very young, very sympathetic, and he did not know 
his position with regard to Colonel Spriggs. But 
he did know what would be the consequences to 
himself of disobedience on what was practically the 
field of battle. Finally he said : ' Colonel, this appears 
to be a very curious and unusual case. Would it not 
be better, if I may say so, to refer it back to the 
provost-marshal ?' 

For an instant the colonel paused. It appeared that 
one chance more was to be given him. Then his good 
angel turned away and left him, and a black lie 
dropped from his lips. His voice became dangerously 
calm. ' I do not know that I am bound to make 
explanations to you, Captain Peters,' he said ; ' but I 
have done so out of consideration for your extreme 
youth and inexperience. It may be enough for you to 
know that I carry the provost-marshal's order, counter- 
signed by General Shields, and dated 1 A.M. to-day, 
to hang these fellows as soon as possible after their 
capture, should I succeed in taking them ; and that 
document, sir, is not bogus like the one you have just 
read. Now, for the last time, will you obey orders ?' 

Captain Peters wheeled round and faced his men. 

'Company!' he cried. 'Attention! You will remain 
drawn up in line. Your orders are to keep a sharp 
lookout for the enemy. You will take no part in this 
business, if you are men. That is my last word to you 
as your captain.' He turned about and faced the 
infuriated colonel. ' No, sir ; I will not obey your 
orders,' he said with flaming cheeks. ' Do your 
murderous work yourself, if you must do it. I am 



270 OLD grizzly's sacrifice. 

a soldier, not an executioner. There is my sword. 
I am prepared to take tlie consequences.' 

'Bullee!' burst from Ephraim, while a low murmur 
of approval ran down the line of Vermonters. But the 
colonel, livid with rage, said as he almost snatched the 
sword from the young officer's hand : * Very good, sir. 
Fall back ! I shall know how to deal with you when 
the time comes. — Sergeant Plowes !' A low-browed, 
thick-set fellow stepped forward and saluted. ' Carry 
out the orders which Captain Peters has refused to 
execute, and be sharp about it.' 

In every company of men there are some souls of 
the baser sort, ever ready to curry favour with those 
above them. The colonel had made a careful selection 
from his regiment, when he set out to hunt the 
fugitives down, and he knew that there was no fear 
of his orders being disobeyed, whatever their character. 
Had not Captain Peters appeared upon the scene it 
would have been all over with Ephraim and Lucius 
long ago, but the presence of the junior officer had 
inspired Colonel Spriggs with the mean idea of forcing 
some one to share the responsibility of the execution 
with him. Foiled in this^ he fell back upon the men 
he had brought. 

The sergeant also knew his men, and having named 
six, ordered them to step to the front. They did so. 
The remainder of the company stood at attention. 
Their sympathies were with the prisoners, but the 
fear of the provost-marshal was before them, and as 
the colonel had absented himself from them for about 
an hour after midnight, they could not know that he 
had lied in saying that he had seen that dreaded 
functionary. 



OLD grizzly's sacrifice. 271 

' Fall in between the second and third file,' said the 
sergeant to the prisoners. 

Lucius stepped forward and took his place. His 
head was held proudly up, and on his pale lips was a 
set smile. His hands were still locked behind his 
back, so no one saw how convulsively his fingers were 
twined together, 

'Now then, you,' said Plowes roughly to Ephraim, 
catching him by the arm. 

But the Grizzly broke from his hold, and rushed up 
to the colonel. ' Gunnel !' he cried, in heart-rending 
tones, ' stop before ye do this bloody deed. I ain't 
keerin' what ye do ter me, ez I told ye before. But 
thet boy thar, thet Luce, he 's ez innercent ez a lamb. 
I made the balloon jest fer ter pleasure him, and he 
didn't want ter come ; but I fetched him along. 
He 's done nuthin'. Gunnel, ez God is above ye, don't 
harm him.' His voice rose to a shriek. ' Gunnel ! 
cunnel ! Hold yer hand. Don't shoot him. He 's his 
mother's only son. He 's my friend, and I love him. 
And I 've brought him ter his death.' He covered his 
face with his hands and sobbed. 

' Take him away,' said the colonel abruptly. 

* Gunnel !' screamed Ephraim, struggling with the 
sergeant. 'Spare him! Spare him ! Ef ye will, I'll 
jine yer army and fight against my own side till I 
drop. Ye '11 git one man more thet way. — Oh, what 
am I sayin' ? I don't want ter git oiF myself. On'y 
let him go ! On'y let him go !' 

' For shame, Grizzly !' called Lucius. ' Don't degrade 
yourself by talking to the ruffian.' 

'Oh, Luce, Luce!' wailed Ephraim, suffering the 
sergeant to lead him away. ' What shall I do ? What 



272 OLD grizzly's sacrifice. 

shall I do ? I brought it on ye. Oh, fergive me ! 
Fergive me !' 

* Files ! 'Shun !' cried Plowes, shoving Ephraim into 
his place. ' Right face ! Fifty paces to the front ! 
Quick — march !' 

The melancholy procession started, Lucius still hold- 
ing his head high, and Ephraim crying and whining 
like a child that has been whipped. 

'Don't cry, Grizzly,' said Lucius, taking him by the 
arm. ' They '11 think you *re a funk. I know better ; 
but don't give them the chance to say so. Don't worry 
over me. It 's not your fault. I ought to have remem- 
bered what my General said. It 's a big price to pay 
for being disobedient ; but it 's my fault, not yours. 
Oh, don't cry so, dear old Grizzly !' 

Their positions were curiously reversed. The soft, 
young southern voice was calm and clear, there was 
no shrinking in the bright blue eyes, and the quivering 
coward of half an hour before now marched to his 
death with a step as steady and bearing as firm as 
that of any of the cavaliers whose blood ran in his 
veins ; while his comrade, all his steadfast courage gone, 
shuffled along, his gaunt frame seeming to shrivel in 
his clothes as he went, and his queer, old-looking face 
drawn with the agony of his fear and self-reproach. 
Only there was this difference — Lucius was thinking 
of himself, and that nerved him. Ephraim was think- 
ing of Lucius, and that unmanned him. 

' Files ! Halt ! Front ! Order — arms !' shouted the 
sergeant, and the men stood still. 

'Now then, you two,' said Plowes, 'come with me.' 
His rough heart was touched for once in his life by 
what he had just heard, and he muttered as they 



OLD grizzly's sacrifice. 273 

marched along : ' 1 '11 make it thirty paces, and ye kin 
take j-er chance.' Such a favour ! And having said 
thus much, he placed them and went back without 
another word. 

Lucius straightened himself up and once more 
locked his fingers behind his back. ' Hold up, Grizzly !' 
he said. ' Don't let them think that you 're afraid.' 

Ephraim bent his lank body and kissed Lucius on 
the cheek. 

' Good-bye, Luce,' he said. ' Maybe God '11 let me 
meet ye by-and-by.' 

He raised his head, and swift as lightning a change 
came over his face, and a flame of joy sparkled in his 
eyes as he stared over the heads of the firing party 
at the woods beyond them. 

Plowes had reached his men. ''Shun!' he called. 
'At thirty paces — prepare to fire a volley ! Ready !' 

' Ef I kin on'y gain an ounce of time,' muttered the 
Grizzly, with a sob in his throat. — 'Hold on!' he 
shouted suddenly. 'I can't abear it. Wait till I 
blind our eyes.' 

' Blind 'em, then, and be quick about it,' returned 
Plowes sullenly ; for he was getting heartily sick of 
the job he had taken in hand. 

'I'll not have my eyes bound,' declared Lucius, 
pushing Ephraim's hand away. 

' It 's the last thing I '11 ever ask of ye,' stammered 
Ephraim, scarcely able to speak, and Lucius submitted. 

' Now then, sharp with your own,' called Plowes. 

Ephraim drew out his handkerchief and fumbled 
with it in his hands, but all the time he scanned the 
opposite woods. Then the light died out of his eyes 
again, for save for the waving boughs that swept 

R 



274 OLD grizzly's sacrifice. 

gently to and fro in the morning breeze, there was 
nothing to be seen. 

' Now then,' shouted Plowes ; and Lucius muttered : 
' Have you got your handkerchief on ?' 

' Yes, sonny,' answered Ephraim soothingly, as he 
glanced once more towards the woods. ' Thar they 
air, the boys in gray,' he murmured. ' Why don't they 
come out ? Am I dreaming ? It 's too late ! too late ! 
One of us must go under. I reckon it '11 hev ter 
be me.' Then dashing the handkerchief to the ground 
beside him, he placed his right arm round Luce's 
shoulders and roared at the top of his voice : * Fire, 
boys! Fire!' 

'Ready!' called Plowes, astonished at this mode 
of address, for he supposed it to be meant for him. 
' Present !' 

But ere the fatal word could cross the sergeants 
lips, Ephraim swung suddenly round in front of Lucius 
and clasped him in his arms. The Grizzly's broad 
back was turned to the platoon, and his body covered 
the friend he loved from the deadly volley. 

But it never came. For before a triijcrer of the 
six rifles could be drawn, a line of Hame spurted 
from the opposite woods, and a frightful roar of 
musketry swallowed up all other sounds. Lucius 
felt a sharp agony of pain in his right ankle, and 
then, with a dead, heavy weight bearing him irre- 
sistibly backwards, fell fainting to the ground with 
the wild rebel yell ringing in his ears. 

The battle of Port Republic had beg^^n. For the 
second time Lucius and Ephraim had stood up to 
the fire of their own men, and this time they had 
Sfone down. 




' Fire, boys ! Fire !' 




^^<^ 








CHAPTER XVII. 



WHAT CAME OF IT ALL. 



'^i^t^^-rNHEN we found him, he was lying com- 
|^^%V^ pletely covered by the body of the elder 
^likW^ boy, and if we had not come up when 
" we did, he must have been suffocated. 

The sergeant of the firing party, a rough brute, who 
was captured, and who explained the matter to 
us and pointed out the boys, said, with tears in 
his eyes, that he had never seen such a piece of 
heroism. Ephraim had evidently caught sight of 
some of our men in the wood, and knew that in 
a moment or two the fio-ht must begin. At the 
same time he believed that the movement would be 
too late to stop the fire of the platoon, and even as 
the "U'ord was upon the sergeant's lips, flung himself 
in front of Lucius, deliberately offering his own life 
to save that of his friend. As a matter of fact, all 
his wounds are from our men and in the back ; but 
for all that, they are as glorious as any received in 
front by our brave fellows to-day.' 

' " Greater love hath no man than this, that a 
man lay down his life for his friend." It was 
splendid ! ' 



278 WHAT CAME OF IT ALL. 

The full, earnest voice stirred a faint memory in 
Luce's dull brain. He looked wearily up into the kind 
face bent anxiously over him. ' My General ! ' he 
murmured, and closed his eyes again. 

Stonewall Jackson laid his hand caressingly upon 
the fair, curly head. 

'Poor fellow!' he said. 'Will he pull through, 
doctor, do you think V 

' Oh yes ; I trust so,' replied the surgeon. ' His 
ankle is badly shattered, and he will limp for the 
rest of his days ; but I think we shall be able to 
save the foot.' 

'And Ephraira ?' asked the General. 

'Ah!' 

The mournful sigh smote heavily on Luce's ear. 
He was still drowsy and stupid fi-om the combined 
effect of shock and the chloroform which had been 
administered to him before the ball had been extracted 
from his leg ; but at the sound of that dreary mono- 
syllable his senses quickened, he opened his eyes again, 
and looked vacantly round. 

For an instant the unfamiliar surroundings of the 
field hospital confused him ; but in a flash full con- 
sciousness returned, the whole of the terrible scene in 
which he had lately borne a part rose before him, and 
with a shriek he struggled up on his mattress, support- 
ing himself upon his hands. 

'Ephraim! Ephraim !' he wailed. 'Where are 
you ? You are not dead. You can't be dead. Oh, 
and you died for me !' 

Then, as his eyes fell upon something stretched 
beside him, very calm and still, he writhed round, 
regardless of the pain of his wound, and flung himself 



WHAT CAME OF IT ALL. 279 

upon the quiet form, raining tears and kisses upon 
the white, pathetic face. 

Was it a dream ? The pale lips parted in a feeble 
smile, and a weak voice, almost drowned in the groans 
of the wounded and dying, whispered faintly : ' Hold 
up. Luce ! Keep up yer sperrits ! 1 11 git ye thar !' 

It was the fall of 1862, and the tender light 
of the exquisite Indian summer lay on the deep 
Virginian woods and glorified the rolling hills of the 
Blue Ridge. In a secluded part of the beautiful 
oTounds of Markham Hall, a tall, thin youno- man, 
with a white, wasted face, reclined in a comfortable 
wheel-chair, dreamily enjoying the warm sunshine, 
and inhaling the fragrance of the ripe, red apples 
that hung from the laden boughs in the orchard. 

Presently a fair-haired boy came through the trees. 
In one hand he bore a bowl of broth, and with the 
other he supported himself upon a stick as he limped 
along. 

' Hello, Grizzly ! ' cried the new-comer. ' How do you 
feel now ? Here 's jour soup. Aren't you ready for 
it?' 

'I reckon!' answered Ephraim, smiling in his own 
old way. ' Ef this weather holds, I '11 be ai-ound agen 
in no time. My ! It 's jest glorious ter be hj-ar. But 
what a lot of trouble I 'm givin' ye all. Luce. I ain't 
wmth it, ye know.' 

Still thinking of others and careless of himself, the 
grand old Grizzly. Lucius flushed deeply. 

' See here, Grizzly,' he said, setting down the bowl 
upon a rustic table, and placing his arm affectionately 
round his friend's neck, ' don't you ever say that 



280 WHAT CAME OF IT ALL. 

again. If there is anything good enough for you 
in the wide world, the Markhams have got to find 
it out. Just you remember that. Where should I be 
to-day if it hadn't been for you ? Lying under the 
ground alongside that pesky colonel, as you called 
him.' Then as Ephraim was silent, he went on : 'I 
can't do much, you know, Grizzly, for I 'm only a bo}', 
and a lame one at that ; but I 've got a piece of news 
for you, just to show that we are not ungrateful. 
Father has arranged with Mr Coulter that, as soon as 
you are able for it, you are to go into the works as 
assistant mechanical engineer. Then, when the war is 
through, he 's going to send you to college, so the loss 
of the pile doesn't matter after all. Meantime, till you 
go to college, you are to live with us.' 

Ephraim's great eyes swam in tears. He caught 
Luce's hand in both his own and fondled it. 

' Shucks ! Luce,' he muttered brokenly. * What a 
fuss ter make about a little thing. I han't never took 
any count er thet, seein' it war done fer you.' 



THE END. 



Edinburgli : 
Printed by W. & R. Chambers, Liiuitecl. 



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THE YELLOW GOD : a Tale of some Strange Adventures. By 
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PRISONER AMONG PIRATES. By David Ker, author of Cossack 

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JOSIAH MASON : A BIOGRAPHY. With Sketches of the History 
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IN THE LAND OF THE GOLDEN PLUME : a Tale of Adventure. 
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THE DINGO BOYS, or the Squatters of Wallaby Range. By 
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THE CHILDREN OF WILTON CHASE. By L. T. Meade, author 

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HUGH MELVILLE'S QUEST : a Boy's Adventures in the Days of 
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IMOGEN, or Only Eighteen. By Mrs Molbsworth. With four 
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THE LOST TRADER, or the Mystery of the Lomlardy. By 
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THROUGH THE FLOOD, the Story of an Out-of-the-Way Place. 
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WHEN WE WERE YOUNG. By Mrs O'Reilly, author of Joan 

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ROSE AND LAVENDER. By the author of Laddie, Miss Toosei/s 

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BASIL WOOLLCOMBE, MIDSHIPMAN. By Arthur Lee Knight, 
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nssaRm 




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THE YOUNG RANCHMEN, or Perils of Pioneering in the Wild 
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MEMOIR OF WILLIAM AND ROBERT CHAMBERS. With Auto- 
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POPULAR RHYMES OF SCOTLAND. By Robert Chambers. 2/6 
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TRADITIONS OF EDINBURGH. By Robert Chambers. New 
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HISTORY OF THE REBELLION OF 1745-6. By Robert Chambers. 
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GOOD AND GREAT WOMEN : a Book for Girls. Comprises brief 
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LIVES OF LEADING NATURALISTS. By II. Alleyne Nichol- 
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GREAT THINKERS AND WORKERS : being the Lives of Thomas 
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GREAT HISTORIC EVENTS. The Conquest of India, Indian 
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Mexico, Napoleon's Russian Campaign. Illustrated. 2/6 

RECENT TRAVEL AND ADVENTURE. Comprising Stanley and 
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Lady Brassey, Vambery, Burton, &c. Illustrated. Cloth. 2/6 

' It is wonderful how much that is of al»sorbing interest has been 
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LITERARY CELEBRITIES. 2/6 

Being brief biographies of WordsAVOrth, Camiibell, Moore, Jeffrey, 
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20 BOOKS FOR PRIZES AND PRESENTATION. 

SONGS OF SCOTLAND prior to Bums, with the Tunes, edited by 

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This volume embodies the whole of the pre-Burnsian songs of 

Scotland that possess merit and are presentable, along with the 

music ; each accompanied by its own history. 

HISTORICAL CELEBRITIES. Comprising lives of Oliver Crom- 
well, Washington, Napoleon Bonaparte, Duke of "Wellington, 
Illustrated. 2/6 

' The story of their life-work is told in such a way as to teacli 
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political history of this country.' — Schoolmaster. 

STORIES OF REMARKABLE PERSONS. The Herschels, Mary 
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Chambers, LL.D. 2/6 

Embraces about two dozen lives, and the biographical sketches 
are freely interspersed with anecdotes, so as to make it popular and 
stimulating reading for both young and old. 

YOUTH'S COMPANION AND COUNSELLOR. By William Cham- 
bers, LL.D. 2/6 

This is a new and enlarged edition of the first issue of 1857, wliich 
met with a gratifying degree of approval. The book oft'ers fiiendly 
counsel to the young on everyday matters which concern their 
welfare ; the hints, advices, and suggestions therein offered being the 
result of observation and experience drawn from the long and busy 
life of the writer. 

TALES FOR TRAVELLERS. Selected from Chamhers's Paimsfor 
the People. 2 volumes, each 2/6 

Containing twelve tales by tlie author of John Halifax, Gentleman, 
George Cupples, and other well-known writers. 

STORIES OF OLD FAMILIES. By W. Chambers, LL.D. 2/6 

The Setons— Lady Jean Gordon — Countess of Nithsdale — Lady 
Grisell Baillie— Grisell Cochrane— the Keiths — Lady Grange — Lady 
Jane Douglas— Story of Wedderburn — Story of Erskine — Countess 
of Eglintoun — Lady Forbes— the Dalrymiiles — Montrose — Buccleuch 
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BOOKS FOR PRIZES AND PRESENTATION. 21 



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TWO GREAT AUTHORS. Lives of Scott and Curlyle. 2/ 

Concise biographies of two of the most notable authors of the 
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EMINENT ENGINEERS. Lives of AVatt, Stephenson, Telford, and 
Brindley. 2/ 

' All young persons should read it, for it is in an excellent sense 
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would take delight in such biographies.' — Indian Engineer. 

TALES OF THE GREAT AND BRAVE. By I\rARGARET Fraser 
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A collection of interesting biographies and anecdotes of great men 
and women of history, in the style of Scott's Tales of a Grandfather, 
written by a niece of the historian of Scotland. 

GREAT WARRIORS : Nelson, Wellington, IsTapoleon. 2/ 

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it can be recommended.' — Standard. 

' Told concisely and yet with sufficient detail to make these heroes 
live in the imagination of the reader. ' — New Age. 

'One of the most instructive books published this season.' — 
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HEROIC LIVES : Livingstone, Stanley, General Gordon, Lord 
Dundonald. 2/ 

' Deserves a high place among the best of biograpliies for the use 
of children. ' — Schoolmaster. 

'It would be difficult to name four other lives in which M-e find 
more enterprise, adventure, achievement. . . . The book is sure to 
please.' — Leeds Mercury. 

THROUGH STORM AND STRESS. By J. S. Fletcher. With 
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'Full of excitement and incident.' — Dundee Advertiser. 

W. d- It. Chambers, Limited London and Edinburgh. 



22 BOOKS FOn PRIZES AND PRESENTATION. 

THE REMARKABLE ADVENTURES OF WALTER TRELAWNEY, 

Parish 'Prentice of Plymouth, in the year of the (ireat Armada. 
Ke-told by J. S. Fletcher, author of Through Storm and Stre^is, 
&c. With Frontispiece by W. S. Stacey. 2/ 

' A wonderfully vivid stoiy of the year of the Great Armada ; far 
more ettective than tlie unwholesome trash which so often does duty 
for boys' books nowadays.' — Idler. 

FIVE VICTIMS : a School-room Story, By M. Bramstox, author 
of Boi/s and Girls, Uncle Ivan, &c. With Frontispiece by H. 
A. Bone. 2/ 

'A delightful book for children. Miss Bramston has told her 
simple story extremely well.' — Associates' Journal, 

SOME BRAVE BOYS AND GIRLS. By Edith C. Kenyon, author 

of The Little Knight, Wit/rid Clifford, &c. 2/ 

' A capital book : will be read with delight by both boys and 
girls. ' — Manchester Examiner. 

ELIZABETH, or Cloud and Sunshine. By Henley I. Arden, 
author of Leather Hill Farm, Aunt Bell, &c. With Frontis- 
piece by Herbert A. Bone. 2/ 

' This is a charming story, and in every way suitable as a gift- 
book or prize for girls.' — Schoolmaster. 

HEROES OF ROMANTIC ADVENTURE, being Biographical Sketclies 
of Lord Clive, founder of British supremacy in India ; Captain 
John Smith, founder of the colony of Virginia; the Good Knight 
Bayard ; and Garibaldi, the Italian patriot. Illustrated. 2/ 

OUR ANIMAL FRIENDS— the Dog, Cat, Horse, and Elephant. 
With numerous Illustrations. 2/ 

A popular account, freely interspersed with anecdotes showing the 
personal attachment, fidelity, and sagacity of the dog ; the affection, 
courage, and memory of the cat ; the courage, revenge, and docility 
of the horse ; and the various characteristics of the elephant, 
including the famous Jumbo. 

W, (b R. Chambers, Limited, London arul Edinburgh. 



BOOKS FOR PRIZES AND PRESENTATION. 23 

FAMOUS MEN. Illustrated. 2/ 

Comprising Biographical Sketches of Lord Duiulonald, George 
Stephenson, Lord Nelson, Louis Napoleon, Captain Cook, George 
AVashington, Sir Walter Scott, Peter the Great, Christopher 
Columbus, John Howard, William Hutton, William Penn, James 
Watt, Alexander Selkirk, Sir William Jones, Dr Leyden, Dr ]\Iurray, 
Alexander Wilson, J. F. Oberlin. 

LIFE OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN. Illustrated. 2/ 

' A fine example of attractive biographical writing. ... A short 
address, "The Way to Wealth," should be read by every young 
man in the limg&om.'— Teachers' Aid. 

EMINENT WOMEN, and Tales for Girls. Illustrated. 2/ 

' The lives include those of Grace Darling, Joan of Arc, Flora 
Macdonald, Helen Gray, Madame Roland, and others; while the 
stories, M'hich are mainly of a domestic character, embrace such 
favourites as Passion and Principle, Love is Power, Three Ways of 
Living, Annals of the Poor, Sister of Rembrandt, and others equally 
entertaining and good.' — Teachers' Aid. 

TALES FROM CHAMBERS'S JOURNAL. 4 vols., each 2/ 

Comprise interesting short stories by James Payn, Hugh Conway, 
D. Christie Murray, Walter Thornbury, G. Manville Fenn, Button 
Cook, J. B. Harwood, and other popular writers. 

BIOGRAPHY, EXEMPLARY AND INSTRUCTIVE. Edited by W. 

Chambers, LL.D. 2/ 

The Editor gives in this volume a selection of biographies of those 

who, while exemplary in their private lives, became the benefactors 

of their species by the still more exemplary efforts of their intellect. 

AILIE GILROY. By W. Chambers, LL.D. 2/ 

' The life of a poor Scotch lassie ... a book that will be highly 
esteemed for its goodness as Avell as for its attractiveness. ' — Teachers' 
Aid. 

ESSAYS, FAMILIAR AND HUMOROUS. By Eobeut Chambers, 

LL.D. 2 vols., each 2/ 

Contains some of the finest essays, tales, and social sketches of 

the author of Traditions of Edinburgh, reprinted from Chambers's 

Journal. 

W. cfc R. Chambers, Limited, London and Edinburgh. 



24 BOOKS FOB PRIZES AND PRESENTATIOlf. 

MARITIME DISCOVERY AND ADVENTURE. Illustrated. 2/ 

Columbus — Balboa — Richard Falconer — North-east Passage — 
South Sea Marauders — Alexander Selkirk — Crossing the Line— 
Genuine Crusoes — Castaway — Scene with a Pirate, »S:c. 

SHIPWRECKS AND TALES OF THE SEA. Illustrated. 2/ 

' A collection of narratives of many famous shipwrecks, with other 
tales of the sea. . . . The tales of fortitude under difficulties, and 
in times of extreme peiil, as well as the records of adherence 
to duty, contained in this volume, cannot but be of service.' — 
Practical Teacher. 

SKETCHES, LIGHT AND DESCRIPTIVE. By W. Chambers, LL.D. 

2/ 
A selection from contributions to Chambers's Journal, ranging 
over a period of thirty years. 

MISCELLANY OF INSTRUCTIVE AND ENTERTAINING TRACTS. 

Each 2/ 

These Tracts comprise Tales, Poetry, Ballads, Remarkable Episodes 
in History, Papers on Social Economy, Domestic Management, 
Science, Travel, t&c. The articles contain wholesome and attrac- 
tive reading for Mechanics', Parish, School, and Cottage Libraries. 

s. d. 



s. d. 

20 Vols, cloth 20 

10 Vols, cloth 20 

10 Vols, cloth, gilt edges 25 



10 Vols, half-calf 45 

160 Nos each 1 

AVhich may be had separately. 



Price Is. 6d. 

With Illustrations. 

SWISS FAMILY ROBINSON. Tlieir Life and Adventures on a 
Desert Island. 1/6 

SKETCHES OF ANIMAL LIFE AND HABITS. By Andrew 
WiLsox, Ph.D., &c. 1/6 

A popular natural history text-book, and a guide to the use of 
the observing powers. Compiled with a view of affording the young 
and tlie general reader trustworthy ideas of the animal world. 

W. db R. Chambers, Limited, London and Edinburgh. 



BOOKS FOR PRIZES AND PRESENTATION. 25 

RAILWAYS AND RAILWAY MEN. 1/6 

'A readable and entertaining book.' — Manchester Guardian. 

EXPERIENCES OF A BARRISTER. 1/6 

Eleven tales embracing experiences of a barrister and attorney. 

BEGUMBAGH, a Tale of the Indian Mutiny. 1/6 

A thrilling tale by George Manville Fenn. 

THE BUFFALO HUNTERS, and other Tales. 1/6 

Fourteen short stories reprinted from Chambers^s Journal. 

TALES OF THE COASTGUARD, and other Stories. 1/6 

Fifteen interesting stories from Chambers's Journal. 

THE CONSCRIPT, and other Tales. 1/6 

Twenty-two short stories specially adapted for perusal by the 
young. 

THE DETECTIVE OFFICER, by 'Waters;' and other Tales. 1/6 
Nine entertaining detective stories, with three others. 

FIRESIDE TALES AND SKETCHES. 1/6 

Contains eighteen tales and sketches l)y R. Chambers, LL.D., and 
others by P. B. St John, A. M. Sargeant, &c. 

THE GOLD-SEEKERS, and other Tales. 1/6 

Seventeen interesting tales from Chambers's Journal. 

THE HOPE OF LEASCOMBE, and other Stories. 1/6 

The principal tale inculcates the lesson that we cannot have 
everything onr own way, and that passion and impulse are not 
reliable counsellors. 

THE ITALIAN'S CHILD, and other Tales. 1/6 

Fifteen short stories from Chambers's Journal. 

JURY-ROOM TALES. 1/6 

Entertaining stories by James Payn, G. M. Fenn, and others. 

KINDNESS TO ANIMALS. By W. Chambers, LL.D. 1/6 

' Illustrates, by means of a series of anecdotes, the intelligence, 
gentleness, and docility of the brute creation. ' — Sunday Times. 

W. ti' R. Chambers, Limited, London and Edinburgh. 



26 BOOKS FOR PRIZES AND PRESENTATION. 

THE MIDNIGHT JOURNEY. By Leitch Ritchie; and other 
Tales. 1/6 

Sixteen short stories from Chambers's Journal. 

OLDEN STORIES. 1/6 

Sixteen short stories from Chambers's Journal. 

THE RIVAL CLERKS, and other Tales. 1/6 

The first tale shows how dishonesty and roguery are punished, 
and virtue triumphs in the end. 

ROBINSON CRUSOE. By Daniel Defoe. 1/6 

A handy edition, profusely illustrated. 

PARLOUR TALES AND STORIES. 1/6 

Seventeen short tales from the old series of Chambers's Journal, by 
Anna Maria Sargeant, Mrs Crowe, Percy B. St John, Leitch 
Ritcliie, &c. 

THE SQUIRE'S DAUGHTER, and other Tales. 1/6 

Fifteen short stories from Chambers's Journal. 

TALES FOR HOME READING. 1,6 

Sixteen short stories from the old series of Chambers's Journal, by 
A. M. Sargeant, Frances Brown, Percy B. St John, Mrs Crowe, and 
others. 

TALES FOR YOUNG AND OLD. 1/6 

Fourteen short stories from Chambers's Journal, by Mrs Crowe, 
Miss Sargeant, Percy B. St John, &c. 

TALES OF ADVENTURE. 1/6 

Twenty-one tales, comprising wonderful escapes from wolves and 
bears, American Indians, and pirates; life on a desert island; extra- 
ordinary swimming adventures, &c. 

TALES OF THE SEA. 1/6 

Five thrilling sea tales, by G. Manville Fenn, J. B. Harwood, and 
others. 

TALES AND STORIES TO SHORTEN THE WAY. 1/6 

Fifteen interesting tales from Chambers's Journal. 

W. & R. Chambers, Limited, London and Edinburgh. 



BOOKS FOR PHIZES AND PRESENTATION'. 27 

TALES FOR TOWN AND COUNTRY. 1/6 

Twenty-two tales and sketches, by K. Chamliers, LL.D., and 
other writers. 

HOME-NURSING. By Rachel A. Neuman. 1/6 

A work intended to help the inexperienced and those who in a 
sudden emergency are called upon to do the work of home-nursing. 



Price Is. 



COOKERY FOR YOUNG HOUSEWIVES. By Annie M. Griggs. 1/ 
A book of practical utility, showing how tasteful and nutritious 
dishes may be prepared at little expense. 



NEW SERIES OF CHAMBERS'S LIBRARY 
FOR YOUNG PEOPLE. 

Illustrated. 

Price Is. 

' Excellent popular biographies. ' — British Weekly. 

POPULAR BIOGRAPHIES. 

QUEEN VICTORIA : the Story of her Life and Reign. 1/ 

' A sympathetic and popular sketch of the life and rule of our 
Queen up to the present day.' — Manchester Guardian. 

THOMAS CARLYLE : the Story of his Life and Writings. 1/ 

Gives in a concise form all that is known regarding the life and 
writings of the Sage of Chelsea, whose centenary falls in December 
next. 

THOMAS ALVA EDISON : the Story of his Life and Inventions. 1/ 
A brightly written account of the wonderful career of the inventor 
of the phonograph, and perfecter of the electric light. 

IF. <£• R. Chambers, Limited, London and Edinhurfjh. 



28 BOOKS FOR PRIZES AND PRESENTATION. 

THE STORY OF WATT AND STEPHENSON. 1/ 

'As a giffc-bookfor boys this is simply first-rate.' — Schoolmaster. 
'A concise and Avell-written account of the labours of these 
inventors. ' — Glasgow Herald. 

'An excellent book to put into the hands of a hoy.'— Spectator. 

THE STORY OF NELSON AND WELLINGTON. 1/ 

' This book is cheap, artistic, and instructive. It should be in 
the library of every home and school.' — Schoolmaster. 

THOMAS TELFORD AND JAMES BRINDLEY. 1/ 

Telford's autobiography is here largely leproduced, with an account 
of his labours and those of Brindley in connection with roads, 
bridges, and canals. 

GENERAL GORDON AND LORD DUNDONALD : the Story of Two 
Heroic Lives. 1/ 

'Every boy's library ought to jwssess this little volume. It 
abounds in admirable teachings of duty and gallantry.' — Academy. 

LIVINGSTONE AND STANLEY : the Story of the opening up of 
the Dark Continent. 1/ 

COLUMBUS AND COOK : the Story of their Lives, Voyages, and 
Discoveries. 1/ 

'Models of compact biography.' — Christian World. 
' Is a fascinating and historical account of daring adventure.' — 
Bristol Mercury. ■■ 

THE STORY OF THE LIFE OF SIR WALTER SCOTT. By Robert 
Chambers, LL.D. l\e vised with additions, inchiding the Auto- 
biography. 1/ 
Besides the Autobiography, many interesting and characteristic 
anecdotes of the boyhood of Scott, which challenge the attention of 
the young reader, have been added ; while the whole has been 
revised and brought up to date. 

W. it R. Chambers, Limited, London and Edinburgh. 



BOOKS FOR PRIZES AND PRESENTATION. 29 

THE STORY OF HOWARD AND OBERLIN. 1/ 

The book is equally divided between the lives? of Howard the 
prison refoiiner, and Oberlin the pastor and philanthropist, who 
worked such a wonderful reformation amongst the dwellers in a 
valley of the Vosges Mountains. 

THE STORY OF NAPOLEON BONAPARTE. 1/ 

A brief and graphic life of the first Napoleon, set in a history of 
his own times : the battle of Waterloo, as of special interest to 
English readers, being fully narrated. 

' Present concisely and in a graphic manner the life-story of the 
celebrities mentioned. Much praise is due to the publishers for this 
very handy and useful series.' — Bookseller. 

'Not less interesting than fiction.'— School Board Chronicle. 

'Admirably written biographies.' — Review of Reviews. 



STORIES FOR YOUNG PEOPLE. 

MARK WESTCROFT, CORDWAINER: a Village Story. By F. 
Scarlett Potter. 1/ 

A HUMBLE HEROINE, By L. E. Tiddeman. 1/ 

BABY JOHN. By tlie author of Laddie, Ti2>Cat, Rose and 
Lavender, &c. With Frontispiece by H. A. Bone. 1/ 

' Told with quite an unusual amount of pathos.' — Spectator. 
'A beautifully pathetic and touching story, full of human nature 
and genuine feeling.' — School Board Chronicle. 

THE GREEN CASKET; LEO'S POST-OFFICE; BRAVE LITTLE 
DENIS. By Mrs Molesworth. 1/ 

Three charming stories by the author of the Cuckoo Clock, each 
teaching an important moral lesson. 

JOHN'S ADVENTURES : a Tale of Old England. By Thomas 
jNIiller, author of Boy'^ Counfru Book, &c. 1/ 

W. d; R. Chambers, Limited, London and Edinburgh. 



30 BOOKS FOB PRIZES AND PRESENTATION. 

THE BEWITCHED LAMP. By Mrs Molesworth. With Frontis- 
piece by Kobert Barnes. 1/ 

' Mrs Molesworth has written many charming stories for children, 
but nothing better, we think, than the above little volume.' — New- 
castle Chronicle. 

ERNEST'S GOLDEN THREAD. 1/ 

' The story of a very little boy who tries to do right under trying 
circumstances. . . . The moral of the tale is excellent, and little 
boys and girls will follow Ernest's trials and struggles with interest.' 
— School Guardian. 

LITTLE MARY, and other Stories. By L. T. Meade. 1/ 

THE LITTLE KNIGHT. By Edith C. Kenyon. 1/ 

'Has an admirable moral. . . . Natural, amusing, pathetic' — 
Manchester Gtia7'dian. 

WILFRID CLIFFORD, or The Little Knight Again. By Edith C. 
Kenyon. AVith Frontispiece by W. S. Stacey. 1/ 

' The author has certainly written nothing sprightlier or healthier. 
. . . Some of the incidents are exceptionally well told.' — Spectator. 

ZOE. By tlie author of Tij^Caf, Laddie, &c. 1/ 

' A charming and touching study of child life. ' — Scotsman. 

UNCLE SAM'S MONEY-BOX. By Mrs S. C. Hall. 1/ 

THEIR HAPPIEST CHRISTMAS. By Edna Byall, author of 
Donocan, &c. 1/ 

' A delightful story for children, simple, interesting, and conveying 
a useful lesson.' — School Board Chronicle. 

FIRESIDE AMUSEMENTS : a Book of Indoor Games. 1/ 

' A thoroughly useful work, Avhich should be Avelcomed by all who 
have the organisation of children's parties.' — Rcviciv of Reviews. 

THE STEADFAST GABRIEL: a Tale of Wichnor Wood. By 
INIary Howitt. V 

W, <k R. Chambers, Limited, London and Edinburgh. 



BOOKS FOR PRIZES AND PRESENTATION. 31 

GRANDMAMMA'S POCKETS. By Mrs S. C. Hall. 1/ 

THE SWAN'S EGG. By Mrs S. C. Hall. 1/ 

MUTINY OF THE BOUNTY, and LIFE OF A SAILOR BOY. 1/ 

PERSEVERANCE AND SUCCESS : the Life of William Hutton. 1/ 

DUTY AND AFFECTION, or the Drummer-boy. 1/ 

A thrilling narrative of the wars of the first Napoleon. 

FAMOUS POETRY. Being a collection of the best English verse. 
Illustrated. 1/ 

STORY OF A LONG AND BUSY LIFE. By W. Chambers, LL.D. 

1/ 



Price 9d. 

Cloth, Illustrated. 
THE LITTLE CAPTIVE KING. JOE FULWOOD'S TRUST. 

FOUND ON THE BATTLEFIELD. PAUL ARNOLD. 

ALICE ERROL, and other Tales. CLEVER BOYS. 

THE WHISPERER. By Mrs S. C. Hall. THE LITTLE ROBINSON. 

TRUE HEROISM, and other Stories. MIDSUMMER HOLIDAY. 

PICCIOLA, and other Tales. MY BIRTHDAY BOOK. 



W, d: R. Chambers, Limited, London and Edinhiirgh, 



32 BOOKS FOR PRIZES AND PRESENTATION. 



Price 6d. 

Cloth, with Illustrations. 

' For good literature at a cheap rate, commend us to a little series 
published by W. Si R. Chambers, which consists of a number of 
readable stories by good writers.' — Revieiv of Revieias. 

'One contains three little stories from the pen of Mrs Molesworth, 
one of the most charming of writers for the little ones ; and the name 
of L. T. Meade is a guarantee of good reading of a kind which 
children are sure to enjoy.' — School Board Chronicle. 

CASSIE, and LITTLE MARY. By L. T. Meade. 

A LONELY PUPPY, and THE TAMBOURINE GIRL. By L. T. Meade. 

LEO'S POST-OFFICE, and BRAVE LITTLE DENIS. By Mrs Moles- 
worth. 

GERALD AND DOT. By Mrs Fairbairn. 

KITTY AND HARRY. By Emma Gellibrand, author of J. Cole. 

DICKORY DOCK. By L. T. Meade, author of Scamp and I, &c. 

FRED STAMFORD'S START IN LIFE. By Mrs Fairbairn. 

NESTA : or Fragments of a Little Life. By Mrs Molesworth. 

NIGHT-HAWKS. By the Hon. EvA Knatchbull-Hugessen. 

A FARTHINGFUL. By L. T. Meade. 

POOR MISS CAROLINA. By L. T. Meade. 

THE GOLDEN LADY. By L. T. Meade. 

MALCOLM AND DORIS : or. Learning to Help. By Davina Waterson. 

WILLIE NICHOLLS ; or. False Shame and True Shame. 

SELF-DENIAL. By Miss Edgeworth. 



W, cfc R, Chambers, Limited, London and Edinburgh. 



RARE BOOK 
COLLECTION 




THE LIBRARY OF THE 

UNIVERSITY OF 

NORTH CAROLINA 

AT 

CHAPEL HILL 

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